Posts tagged with "Concert Halls":

Michel Rojkind on his raw and powerful Foro Boca concert hall in Veracruz

The Foro Boca concert hall opened to the public December 1, 2017 in Boca del Río, Veracruz, Mexico, with a concert by the Boca del Rio Philharmonic Orchestra featuring acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell. Designed by Rojkind Arquitectos, the remarkable building is the central piece of a city in transformation. Iker Gil of MAS Studio and Julie Michiels of Perkins + Will spoke with architect Michel Rojkind to discuss the main aspects of the building. The Architect’s Newspaper: Can you talk about how you became involved in Foro Boca and how it related to the larger urban challenges in Boca del Río? Michel Rojkind: Miguel Ángel Yunes Márquez, the then-mayor of Boca del Río, started the Boca del Río Philharmonic Orchestra in 2014, and that has since become the heart of the cultural life in the city. The mayor asked us to design a home for the orchestra, and at the time there were three possible sites. The chosen one was located in a deteriorated area of Boca del Río where the Jamapa River meets the Gulf of Mexico. We decided then to think about the building as part of a larger urban regeneration project that also could tie to a three-mile boulevard that the mayor had already started to work on to improve the pedestrian experience along the waterfront. How does Foro Boca connect to its immediate context? One of the first key aspects was to turn the nearby breakwater into a pedestrian space. Also, the building entrance, besides being protected from the strong north winds, is connected to a series of public spaces. As the mayor had already chosen granite for the boulevard, we included it in our project so that the boulevard would go right into the building. Our aim was to make sure that the public spaces were considered as important as the building, giving back to the community by extending our plazas toward the beach, the breakwater, and the city. The building is raw, powerful, and stripped of superfluous elements. Can you talk about its overall composition and materiality? We wanted to use a material that was able to withstand and respond to the harsh conditions of the place, so we chose concrete with a texture running in different directions. We were interested in the way it would develop a patina over time, similar to the nearby rocks in the breakwater. Initially, the project started as a big box that we broke down into smaller programs to give it the proper scale toward the beach, the pier, and the city. As you move around Foro Boca, your perception of the volumes’ scales changes. And it was important for us to make a building that had no front and back. For instance, the area where the trucks load and unload the instruments becomes an exterior plaza. It is about creating overlapping uses rather than hiding them. The interior of the building also challenges our perception of scale, with an interesting sequence of compression and release. As you enter the building under a compressed space defined by a cantilevered volume that is 7.5 feet tall, you begin to understand the spatial organization around the main concert hall. The double- and triple-height spaces with skylights are quite dramatic, as you are coming from the dark compressed entrance in contrast to the exterior light and then it opens up to these spaces with light washing the walls. And there is a sense of fluidity in the spaces. You see people going up the stairs, moving through the mezzanines, and entering the concert hall through different access points. It was important for us to translate the continuous movement that is present in music or in the nearby waves. Foro Boca continues with your studio’s philosophy of providing added value to each project, envisioning new opportunities beyond the original scope of the project. Can you describe how added value manifests in this specific case? Besides the main program of housing the orchestra, we wanted to design a space that could accommodate multiple activities at the same time and host diverse cultural manifestations, not just concerts. After the opening concert, Foro Boca hosted White Canvas, an audiovisual piece by Cocolab, and a few days later the first edition of the National Book Fair in Boca del Río. Now that there is a building that can house all these activities, there will be more and more opportunities to bring interesting artistic expressions. The important thing is to maintain the quality of the culture that is inside. It is interesting to consider Foro Boca in relationship to your Cineteca Nacional project. Both public buildings commissioned by the government, they have similar ambitions as civic anchors beyond their specific programs. Can you talk about the relationship between both projects? When I started to work with the mayor on Foro Boca I was a bit skeptical because I had a really hard time with Cineteca Nacional. We were being criticized for a building that had opened to the public unfinished. But the process in this case was very different and with more time for design. Also, the mayor of Boca del Río is very passionate about art in general, and the orchestra in particular, so I knew we could work in a different way. To me, the most important part of the Cineteca project is the exterior space, the places where people gather and where unexpected things occur. For that reason, in Foro Boca, we fought to include the exterior plazas as a key part of the project. Each project creates different experiences, but both have exterior spaces that are very successful. When film director Peter Greenaway visited Cineteca Nacional, he pointed out that the gardens were his favorite area, as they were the spaces where the quotidian happens. Foro Boca is a project that synthesizes the ideas and lessons we learned from Cineteca Nacional. It is a building that is distilled to very few elements, creating a powerful experience that you feel is part of the site.

Roof of early Frank Gehry concert venue collapses in Maryland

One of architect Frank Gehry’s earliest public buildings collapsed this month as it was nearing the end of a five-year, $55 million renovation, forcing the owners to revise their plans. The roof of the Merriweather Post Pavilion, a 19,000-seat open-air concert venue in Columbia, Maryland, crashed down in the middle of the night on Saturday, January 13, burying the seating below. No one was injured. Designed by Gehry, Walsh and O’Malley, and opened in 1967, the concert pavilion was being renovated to help it compete with other performing arts centers. The design team, led by JP2 Architects of Baltimore, opted to keep the original roof because it was a defining element of Gehry’s design. But the designers also wanted to raise it to improve sightlines.  Gehry, now head of Gehry Partners, is not part of the design team, but had been briefed on the project and toured the site several years ago. The roof collapse makes the concert pavilion one of the first major Frank Gehry buildings to be substantially lost or altered -- despite the owner's efforts to retain its architectural integrity throughout the renovation. The roof was in the process of being raised on hydraulic lifts 20 feet above its original height when it collapsed. The pavilion’s operators said this week that they intend to build a new roof in time for the summer concert season, and that it will be at the 51-foot height to which the original roof was being moved. Investigators have not disclosed a cause for the collapse, but there has been speculation that wind was a factor. The chairman of the pavilion’s operating company, Seth Hurwitz of I. M. P., alluded to that possibility in a message on Facebook. “The winds of fate prevailed and decided that, instead of simply raising the roof, we should just go ahead and build a new one,” he wrote. “Was not our decision but the bright side is all the money we save on imploding.” Hurwitz added that “everything will be ready for season opening,” with the first show scheduled for July. One of the first buildings to open in Columbia, the 50-year-old concert pavilion is now a key element in a multi-phase expansion of the unincorporated city led by its master developer, the Howard Hughes Corporation. Hughes transferred ownership of the pavilion in 2016 to a nonprofit group, the Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission. Gehry had an office in Baltimore when he designed the pavilion, one of four structures in Columbia that he worked on for developer James Rouse. Another one of his commissions, the former Rouse Company headquarters, has been converted to a mixed-use development with a Whole Foods Market as its anchor tenant. Gehry could not be reached for comment about the roof collapse.

Gehry, DS+R, Snøhetta, Piano, Foster, and Levette compete for a new concert hall in London

Comprising quite the shortlist (described already as boasting the "starriest of starchitects"), Amanda Levete, Norman Foster, Renzo Piano, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Frank Gehry, and Snøhetta are all vying for the commission to design a new venue for the London Symphony Orchestra and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Known as the "Center for Music," the venue—despite protests from Leon Krier—will be located in what is currently the Museum of London, which was originally designed by Hidalgo Moya and Phillip Powell in the 1970s. In a close-knit reshuffle, the Museum of London will be moved to a new location in West Smithfield, only a stone's throw away from its original site at the Barbican. (The new Museum of London has a construction budget of $185 to 210 million and Bjarke Ingels Group, among others, is in the running for that project.) As for the new Center for Music, the roughly $322 million project will require a "state-of-the-art building of acoustic and visual excellence." Originally, the government had planned to provide some funding, but after austerity cuts, its proposed $6.4 million contribution was withdrawn and replaced by the City of London Organization, which is supplying $3.2 million. The venue is due to offer a 2,000-seat concert hall and spaces for teaching too.

The shortlist for the Center for Music in full is as follows:

  • AL_A (U.K.) and Diamond Schmitt Architects (Canada)
  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro (U.S.) and Sheppard Robson (U.K.)
  • Foster + Partners (U.K.)
  • Gehry Partners, LLP (U.S.) and Arup Associates (U.K.)
  • Renzo Piano Building Workshop (France)
  • Snøhetta (Norway)
“It is hugely encouraging that so many leading architects from around the world have responded enthusiastically to the challenge to develop a concept design for the Centre for Music," said Catherine McGuinness, policy chairman at the City of London Corporation, in a press release. "For them, it represents an exceptional opportunity to help realize the plans for this truly remarkable concert hall—outstanding in design and open to all—in the heart of the Square Mile. For the key partners behind this project and the City of London Corporation, this important announcement brings everyone a step closer towards one of the most widely anticipated and significant developments in the Square Mile’s vibrant cultural hub.”

The aforementioned architecture firms and their teams will provide designs in the coming months. A winner is expected to be announced in the fall.

The current concert hall in the Barbican has also seen recent work done to it—or rather underneath it—in the wake of CrossRail, a new rail line that connects East and West London. In order to reduce noise, special spring-loaded rails are being installed to dampen vibrations which reverberate loudly in the tunnels, potentially disturbing performances. Engineers have not been able to test the idea, but are hopeful of its success.

Take a drone tour of Herzog & de Meuron’s Hamburg concert hall before it opens

If you can't get to the grand opening of Herzog and de Meuron's Elbphilharmonie (Elbe Philharmonic) concert hall in Hamburg on January 11, then fear not. A drone tour is on hand to whizz you through and around the building, showing off the Swiss firm's breathtaking interiors. The drones explore the wooden circulatory areas, as well as the main concert hall which is clad with acoustic gypsum fiberboard panels. The waterfront complex features three concert halls, a plaza for public viewing that provides sweeping views across Hamburg, and 45 private waterfront apartments. The largest concert hall—with a capacity of 2,100—floats within the main building on 362 spring assemblies for further sound-proofing. Drones also travel outside the building which features a shimmering glazed facade and a dramatic wave-like roofscape, mimicking the nearby river Elbe. Here, audiences can take in and fully appreciate the 1,100 glass panes that comprise the facade from close-up views. With each panel measuring a minimum of 13 feet across, many have been spotted with small dark gray reflective dots. Some panels are curved to distort the facade's reflection of the river, thus creating a shimmering effect. Each panel is unique and individually crafted. While creating an appealing aesthetic, the reflective glass facilitates temperature regulation by reducing heat gains. Structurally, the building relies on the support of roughly 1,700 reinforced concrete piles: It’s located where a waterfront warehouse stood until the project began (though its brick facade is still there) just under a decade ago. Click here for the drone tour!

MAD Architects reveal designs for China Philharmonic Hall in Beijing

Beijing-based MAD Architects has revealed plans for the design its latest project, the China Philharmonic Hall. The 286,000-square foot music hall is located on a 2.86-acre property in Beijing’s Central Business District and has been designed in collaboration with acoustics expert Yasuhisa Toyota in an effort to create a state-of-the-art music venue for China’s capital city. Toyota was also an acoustics designer for the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Philharmonie de Paris, and the Suntory Hall in Japan, and is known as a master in the field. The concert hall, surrounded on two sides by vegetation and a lotus pond, is designed to be approached through park areas and act as an urban refuge. In a press release from the firm, Ma Yansong, founder and principal at MAD Architects, describes the project as a place of respite in what is otherwise a hub of trade and commerce, saying, “We wanted to create a pure and sacred oasis in the midst of the bustling city.” He added, “From the moment you enter the building, you will be taken to another time and space.” Like many of MAD Architects’ recent projects, the building’s functional interior spaces—a 1,600-seat concert hall, a smaller 400-seat rehearsal hall, recording studio, library, gallery, offices, and rehearsal rooms—are all amassed together at the center of an otherwise airy and porous building. Flowing around the central building mass is a sinuous exterior facade made of translucent white panels that contain circulation and gathering spaces. The venue’s main concert hall is designed with a terraced seating arrangement made up of wooden platforms and is capped by a series of billowing white forms that are, according to the architects, inspired by the petals of the lotus flower. These surfaces will be used for projections during performances—all part of the effort to have a transformative effect on the venue's harried urban occupants. The project is scheduled to begin construction this year and is expected to be completed in 2019.

Rojkind Arquitectos designs jagged waterfront concert hall to boost Mexico’s reputation as a music and cultural hub

Capitalizing on the recent rise of Boca del Rio's cultural profile, construction has begun on a new waterfront concert hall in Veracruz, Mexico. The Foro Boca will house the Boca del Rio Philharmonic Orchestra, formed last year to incite interest in the region as a cultural and musical center, and kickstart a masterplan to regenerate the local architecture. Positioned as an antidote to the area’s rising crime and pollution levels of the last 20 years, the concert hall by Mexico City–based Rojkind Arquitectos includes an 850-seat concert hall, rehearsal space, music library, and offices. The striking concrete edifice of jagged volumes fronts the breakwater between the mouth of the Jamapa river and the Gulf of Mexico, its geometry referencing the adjacent jetty. The tallest of these volumes houses the concert hall. Visitors enter the building through a triple-height lobby, which leads to the music halls and the library. The 50,000 square foot building will also have a 150-seat chamber music room to host monthly chamber music concerts, while an after-school choral and musical program for low-income children will also be held. On the third floor is a terrace with sweeping views of the ocean and river. Foro Boca’s location converges with Avenue Zamora, which is lined with local restaurants, and is being eyed as a potential catalyst for local gentrification. “The building appropriates the timeless expression of the concrete cubes formed by ripraps in the breakwater, assimilating them as its origin and reinterpreting them in a building made of apparent concrete, forming various areas of volume that contain the concert hall,” said Rojkind Arquitectos founding partner, Michel Rojkind.

The Westin Hamburg to be housed within the Elbe Philharmonic Complex by Herzog & de Meuron

Starwood Hotels has announced that it will open The Westin Hamburg next year in the much-anticipated Elbe Philharmonic complex. The 10-story, 205-bedroom hotel by architects Herzog & de Meuron will be housed within a glass-fronted, wave-shaped building that sits atop a historic warehouse on the banks of the river Elbe. Boasting a pointed, wave-shaped roof, the complex will also feature three concert halls, 45 private apartments and a more than 43,000 square foot, publicly accessible plaza offering 360-degree city views. A head-turning assimilation of old and new, the bottom half of the complex is a former warehouse known as Kaispecher A, designed by Werner Kallmorgen and built between 1963 and 1966 on the site of the original neo-Gothic Kaispecher. Architects Herzog & de Meuron gutted and renovated the warehouse specifically for the project. Meanwhile, the upper half of the complex is an all-glass expanse of 1,100 panes, each measuring 13–16 feet wide, with carefully placed projecting curves that give each window a fingerprint-like accent. The windows were shaped with high precision and marked with small basalt grey reflective dots that prevent the building from overheating in sunlight while creating a shimmering effect that ripples as it catches different reflections. Sandwiched between the conjunction of old and new, the aforementioned viewing plaza is set off by the contrast between the bottom half’s brickwork and the top half’s iridescent glass frontage. The hotel lobby, a café and access to the foyers of the new concert hall are also located there. At the heart of the complex is a world-class concert hall with 2,100 seats that rise up on interwoven tiers on all sides of the stage like vineyard terraces. Enter acoustics specialist Yasuhisa Toyota, who was commissioned to seal the concert hall in a material he developed known as White Skin, which also guarantees perfect acoustics. As an added precaution against sleep-deprived hotel guests, the entire concert hall is enclosed in two concrete shells. Floor and ceiling flow seamlessly into one another as if from a single skin made of 10,000 gypsum fiber panels composed of natural plaster and recycled paper. Accessing the warehouse is a journey unto itself: visitors mount a 269-foot escalator with a concrete arch, whose end cannot be seen. The glowing spherical tunnel, speckled with glass sequins that refract the light, envelops one completely. If you’re wondering about that seafaring roof, its pointy undulations consist of eight spherical, concavely bent sections merged together. It is sprinkled with 6,000 giant sequins that make it ripple and shine like the water surrounding it. Those raring to visit should bear in mind three important dates: the Westin Hamburg is due to open in October 2016, the public plaza in November 2016, while the Elbe Philharmonic will be inaugurated on January 11, 2017.

Court reverses decision on French architect Jean Nouvel’s lawsuit against the Philharmonie de Paris

Celebrated French architect Jean Nouvel lost a court case in which he sued the Philharmonie de Paris for removal of his name from the project due to major deviations from his original design. The court, which ruled in his favor on April 16 pending “additional detailed and comparative information,” reversed its decision hours later. The jury alleges that Nouvel failed to provide incriminating documentation to justify his claim that 26 parts of the 2,400-seat auditorium, whose January 15 inauguration he boycotted, had strayed from his design. These key elements include parapets, foyers, facades, promenades, and acoustic elements of the performance hall. The court said the documents he provided "do not allow the court to assess the work asked for in its definitive state, both globally and in detail," and the court was thus unable to rule whether the work had been "adulterated.” Nouvel also sued on the grounds that his firm, Ateliers Jean Nouvel, was not liable for the nearly doubled costs due to delays and allegedly radical departure from the design proposal.