A research initiative at the World Architecture Festival
Our critical research on the Scenography of Space explores how the architecture of concert halls creates multi-faceted spaces for experience and community, how design can facilitate inclusiveness and accessibility to the arts, and the role culture plays in shaping the city.
Based on PLANE—SITE’s curatorial experience and two years of research into this typology, we were invited to contribute to the 2017 World Architecture Festival. In four videos, we highlighted key themes in contemporary music architecture and three major European concert halls to form the basis for an innovative, multi-media conversation between industry leaders.
Fulfilling more functions than ever before, the concert halls featured in these videos—Harpa in Reykjavik, Wroclaw’s National Forum of Music and the Philharmonie de Paris—redefine the architecture of performance and the musical experience.
First presented as part of the World Architecture Festival, these videos provided the foundation for an intriguing conversation between Michel Cova, scenographic designer and founder of dUCKS scéno, Tateo Nakajima, acoustic designer at Arup, and Jakob Kurek, a partner at Henning Larsen Architects. The panel of experts responded to the films, at times with dissonant opinions, on the contemporary complexities of this building typology. The panel was moderated by Andres Ramirez, Managing Partner of PLANE—SITE.
This video introduces the Harpa in Reykjavik, Wroclaw’s National Forum of Music and the Philharmonie de Paris—all recent concert halls that have quickly become icons in their cities. In this film, designers and directors at the halls talk about the interdisciplinary challenges of creating an identity through sound and a space for artistic expression.
The perfect acoustical space can only be created in collaboration. Even after an architect ‘hands over the keys’, so to speak, this process continues: how are world-class acoustics maintained when faced with the varied mixed-use programs of contemporary music venues? From the amphitheater to the shoe-box and the vineyard; performance space is defined not by the position of the stage, but of the audience. Technology, shape and materials are all key here; but how does it match up with the human ear?
The outside of a concert hall is seen, by most, more than its stage. They become city mascots, of course, but they should also act as an invitation. How can the public be encouraged to cross the threshold — from exterior to interior — without diminishing the creative works within? Whether newly constructed or housed within a historical building, a cultural space must be alive and active rather than a static token of a city’s culture.
Aside from the provision of music concerts, a concert hall — as was the case with Wroclaw’s National Forum of Music — also catalyzes urban changes. Culture goes beyond entertainment: it is woven into the fabric of a city’s identity, providing opportunities for social transformation. Can thoughtful and high-quality scenography play a role in a city’s social or educational evolution? And how can the design of an interior space spill out into the city at-large?