In August 2020, Ian Ritchie Architects were invited to collaborate with Compass Architekti and Scandinavian acoustic consultants Efterklang on the design of a new 3,000-seat, highly adaptable, National Cultural & Congress Centre on the banks of the Danube in Bratislava, Slovakia.
Led by Juraj Benetin of Bratislava-based Compass Architekti, the team drew up proposals for JTRE, one of the largest developers in Slovakia. In addition to hosting congresses, concerts and performances, the new National Cultural and Congress Centre will be a year-round attraction with many other multi-purpose spaces and facilities. Forming part of the Nové Lido masterplan, the designs create a new and attractive public space, the openness and connectivity of which is enhanced by an architectural solution whereby the ground floor opens generously into the attractive square, city boulevard, and park.
Adaptability was a key driver in the design of the main hall and as well as seating 3,000 for congresses, it can be divided into smaller halls with capacities ranging from 250-1,500 seats. The main hall can also accommodate up to 5,000 for standing concerts. A smaller concert hall provides a more intimate performance space with 500 seats and superb acoustics.
The public roof area has stunning panoramic city views, and includes a stage and amphitheatre, complementing the project’s diverse range of spaces within.
The Nové Lido masterplan envisages the expansion of central Bratislava onto the south bank of the Danube to create a cultural axis from the Old Town’s galleries, museums, concert halls, and theatres to the Petržalka quarter to the south. A beautiful new footbridge traverses the river, providing a cultural and urban link between the Slovak National Theatre and the new Cultural and Congress Centre.
Peter Korbačka, JTRE’s Chairman of the Board, is optimistic about the potential of this ambitious new project:
“The National Cultural and Congress Centre is a once-in-a-generation project that will promote various functions, forms and genres in Slovakia. It will help regenerate the culture and tourism sectors which have been hit hard by the current crisis, and its multifunctionality will give the country a strong position on the global map of congresses. Being located in Bratislava’s new city area near key cultural institutions and by the Danube, this project will gain international standing and truly represent Slovakia on the global stage.”