Leipzig has a worldwide reputation as a city of music. The invitation to design a second concert hall was a wonderful opportunity to both recapture the memory of Leipzig’s lost ‘classical’ concert halls and to invest in its future in a contemporary manner.
Goethe stated that ‘Geometry is frozen music’. The essential harmonic division of both time (music) and space (geometry) are expressed through the ? 2 and ? 5. We have chosen to base our concert hall design on a geometric concept known as ‘ad quadratum’ reflecting a sacred geometry which has been a central characteristic of many successful performance spaces. The overall architecture is a composition of levitas (the new concert hall) and gravitas (the existing building and supporting accommodation).
Solid rendered masonry and transparent low-iron glass materials are juxtaposed. The concert hall appears as a layered transparent enclosed space within which the audience ‘floats’ – the balconies are planes within space. The rear balconies are ‘screened’ by curved wooden blades which create a sense of enclosure without denying visual contact through to the stage from the entrance levels. The external layer of motorised vertical wooden louvres varies the transparency of the hall, modulating the light within and can provide an opaque screen if required. Internally, fabric blinds can be lowered in front of the glass wall surface to provide ‘black-out’ for theatrical performances. As the blinds are lowered, auditorium lights dim above the white translucent glass ceiling whose lowest glass surface is sandblasted to remove all light reflections.
The 200mm thick external walls are composed of toughened 15mm & 19mm glass separated by glass fins creating a 165mm air space. The auditorium ceiling is similarly constructed using 10 +10mm toughened translucent white laminated glass. The concert hall roof is a profiled steel and concrete deck with red paving tiled finish. The ‘external’ primary structure of columns and roof beams is steel, painted off-white. The external balconies are timber set into steel frames. The internal balconies and supporting columns are precast quartz concrete, surfaced with carpet. Entry and escape doors in the glass wall are rigidised stainless steel.