Steven Holls new solar-powered concert hall plays up the dramatic contrast between new and old
New York-based Steven Holl Architects and Architecture Acts has won an international competition to design the new 1,300-seat concert hall in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Created as a “perfect acoustic instrument in its case,” the acoustics-driven design has a strikingly contemporary appearance with a rounded zinc-clad exterior that stands in dramatic contrast with the Ostrava Cultural Center, a modern classicism-style building that will be overlapped by the new concert hall. In addition to optimized acoustics, the shape of the new building is engineered to minimize energy demands and the hall will be entirely powered by rooftop solar panels.
Slated to begin construction in 2022, the new building has a roughly teardrop-shaped form with the concert hall positioned at the rear to shield it from urban traffic noise. The new entrance on the promenade appears to float over the top of the existing Cultural center and connects to a new sky-lit lobby. The rounded facade is clad in zinc with a titanium oxide smog-eating coating and punctuated with triple-glazed windows to prevent heat gains. The roof is topped with solar panels, while stormwater will be collected from the roofs of the Cultural Center and the new building and then treated and collected in a garden pond to create a cooling microclimate.
“The smooth case of zinc holds an “instrument” in an extended vineyard-type plan made of concrete and maple wood,” explain the architects in a press statement. “Czech composer, Leoš Janáček’s theories of time will guide and give order to the concert hall’s interior geometry. Acoustic wall panels are organized according to scasovani, or rhythm, in three variants: Znici = sounding; Scitaci = counting; and Scelovac = summing.”
The new concert hall will fulfill a decades-long dream of Ostrava to provide a more suitable space for the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra, one of the leading orchestras in the Czech Republic. The concert hall competition was the biggest architectural competition in the city’s recent history. The opening ceremony for the new concert hall and refurbished Ostrava Cultural Center building is scheduled for 2024.
Images Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects