Atelier Thomas Pucher has won the international competition for the new seat of the world renowned Sinfonia Varsovia Orchestra in Warsaw. The 20.000m² cultural centre is housed on the site of a former Veterinary Institute with existing – yet dormant – buildings and a fairy-tale like park. The area occupies a 1.800 seat symphonic hall with first class acoustic properties, large rehearsal areas, merchandise facilities, musical workshops and a small hotel for artists in residence and music lovers on vacation. The project gives a precise answer meeting the demands of the orchestra as well as the given site with its historical buildings. By enveloping the entire site with a floating wall it serves as an indication to the park as its new centre and creates a distinctive place of silence – the basic principle for an orchestra to perform – full of ambience and drama. The park becomes an open public place and the wall the building that serves it.

The symphonic hall including all rehearsal areas are found within the floating wall. Floating above the foyer it creates a seamless extension of the park into the building that holds several mysteries and miracles: hidden rooms and stairs, a narrow surveillance path at the top and a span of 140m without a single column.

The Concert Hall is a fusion of a Shoebox Hall and an Arena. While the traditional shoe box hall is known for its excellent acoustics but often offers poor visual conditions, the Arena has its advantages with regards to visibility and is hardly applicable when it comes to its acoustic conditions.

The hall for the Sinfonia Varsovia combines the advantages of both by choosing the main shape of a rectangular room with ideal acoustic dimensions and inserting seemingly free formed bands of balconies with perfect viewing angles for visitors into this volume. The three dimensional flow of the balconies and its specific relation to the rectangular volume enables the acoustic properties to be operated on a world class level.

Compared to the second popular type – the vineyard – the hall provides the benefit of compactness, short distances and a volume that is also suited for smaller symphony orchestras and chamber orchestras. For the audience this means that each listener is situated as near to the orchestra as possible and in doing so creates a tremendous impression of being “in midst the music”.

The new Sinfonia Varsovia Centre has a budget of approx. € 110 million and is expected to be completed in 2016.

Design Team: Thomas Pucher, Stephan Brugger, Klaus Hohsner, Manuel Konrad, Robert Lamprecht, Erich Ranegger, Jan Schrader, Dominik Troppan, Elisabeth Maria Weber

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