A Symphony of Sustainability: The Story Behind the Hay Bale Theatre

In the world of architectural innovation and sustainable design, there exist spaces that transcend traditional notions of construction. The Palla Auditorium for the 4 Elements Concert, also known as the ‘Theatre of the Earth’ or the ‘Hay Bale Theatre,’ is one such remarkable creation. Located in Lithuania, this auditorium is a testament to human ingenuity, renewable resources, and a commitment to zero waste.

Architectural Marvel in Harmony with Nature

Image source: arquitectes.cat

Designed by the visionary architect Josep Maria Puigdemasa Hospital, the Palla Auditorium embodies a striking fusion of modern design and ecological responsibility. This ephemeral structure, constructed for the 4 Elements Concert, has captured the imagination of many with its environmentally conscious approach.

The auditorium’s unique design incorporates a dynamic spiral geometry, creating a mesmerizing visual effect. This spiraling structure is composed of renewable, natural resources, with the primary building material being straw bales. These bales are sourced from the very farm on which the auditorium is situated, forming a closed life cycle and minimizing waste.

Beyond a Stage: The Auditorium’s Inner Workings

The Palla Auditorium is not just a feast for the eyes; it’s a masterpiece of sustainable engineering. This stunning space features an access area that doubles as an acoustic silencer, ensuring the acoustics of the concert are pristine. The seating area accommodates 450 chairs, arranged concentrically around the central stage.

Image source: reddit.com

As the performance unfolds, a meticulously designed system of artificial lighting takes the audience on a journey from twilight to a breathtaking display of colored light. This seamless transition enhances the concert experience and adds an element of enchantment to the performance.

The Life Cycle of a Living Material

What truly sets the Palla Auditorium apart is its closed-loop sustainability. The straw bales used in its construction, once the auditorium is dismantled, don’t end up in a landfill. Instead, they are returned to the agricultural cycle. The straw is transported back to the farm, where it serves as animal bedding and food for pigs. These pigs, in turn, transform it into valuable manure, which becomes fertilizer for the same land that cultivated the straw just a year before.

This cycle, where waste is transformed into a resource, beautifully demonstrates the possibilities of sustainable architecture. It’s a living material with an annual life cycle, turning art into a harmonious contribution to the environment.

The Vision Behind the Hay Bale Arena

Image source: SollerWeb

The idea for the hay bale arena was born from the creative mind of Melanie Schmidt, the event manager at Tourismus-Service Butjadingen (TSB). Her aspiration was to offer something new and exciting to the community. She and her colleagues aimed to provide a diverse range of experiences, catering to varying tastes. Whether it’s an open-air cinema, pack drumming, or a rock concert, the Palla Auditorium provides a stunning backdrop for cultural events that the locals and guests eagerly anticipate.

Conclusion: Where Art Meets Sustainability

The Palla Auditorium for the 4 Elements Concert is not just an architectural marvel; it’s a beacon of sustainability. It showcases how innovative design and responsible use of resources can create a breathtaking space while leaving a minimal environmental footprint.

This unique auditorium, designed by Josep Maria Puigdemasa Hospital and brought to life with the collaboration of various talented individuals, is an ode to the harmonious relationship between human creativity and the Earth’s resources. It stands as a living testament to what can be achieved when sustainability takes center stage in architecture and design.

As we journey towards a more eco-conscious future, the Palla Auditorium serves as an inspiring example of what’s possible when art and environmental responsibility collide. This remarkable structure is a symphony of sustainability, echoing the importance of considering our ecological impact in all of our endeavors.


Josep Maria Puigdemasa Hospital  : Architect


Laia Pedrol Rodes : Office collaborator

Marimar Diàñez Villabona : Architect

Xavier Gómez Solsona : Graphic designer


Sample EditionShow Terres de Lleida. 5th Ignasi Miquel Prize
modalityInterventions in outdoor spaces. Includes works in outdoor spaces: urban space, urbanization and landscape
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Design, Art & Architecture

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