A CONCERT HALL FOR THE PEOPLE : China Philharmonic Concert Hall
Chiasmus Partners was the of 3 short-listed entrees of the China Philharmonic Concert Hall competition in Beijing and was eventually chosen by the client as the top scheme. This concert hall will be the permanent home to the China Philharmonic Orchestra, with a main hall of 1600 seats.
The recent global rise of The China Philharmonic is a typical example of China’s re-found cultural relevance on a world stage. For their new home, located a short walking distance from the bustling Sanlitun area and next to the Worker Stadium soccer arena, the future neighborhood is synonymous for mass pop cultures. The experience of enjoying classical music, on the other hand, is such a spiritual and inward experience that we have to make a meaningful transition between the two.
We believe that the new building on this location can dramatically increase the symphony’s opportunities for public outreach. To achieve this we developed a calm architectural personality that in many ways embodies the musical logic of tempo and atmosphere to create a memorable in and outdoor spaces. This set of optimized spaces for practice and performance creates a programmatically and structurally very rational building. With functions organized in an interconnected manner, proportioned for daylight with tailored views, It is the purest expression on how our human body relates to the experience of enjoying live classic music. A building therefore with a clear recognizable rhythm, that is attractive to all our senses.
Perhaps the purest expression of the act of music performance, the Berlin Philharmonic Concert hall was an inspiration for this project's massing strategy. Avoiding any pompous expression and wasteful iconographic presentation, the massing of the building is a true expression of the volumes of interior music spaces. The three main volumes are the 1600-seat concert hall, a 400-seat chamber music hall, and the quarter for offices, linked by a plinth that consists of public lobby and circulation.
The main massing of the concert hall is turned 45 degrees, thus having its major elevation in a perspective relationship with the main north-south street. The turning of the massing is linked with the public arrival plaza and places the main lobby to the south of the site (facing the lake). This effectively lengthen the procession from the noise surrounding streets to the interior of the concert hall, a move that we deemed necessary functionally and atmospherically.
The immediate site is next to a major soccer stadium, and populated with restaurants and bars. We chose solidity as both an expression of the sculptural quality of the building; and as an effective mean to block out audio and visual noise from the immediate surroundings. The turning of the main massing (a.la "contraposto" in sculpture) achieves a dynamic visual relationship with the main throughway and public entree plaza.
The coursing of the stone one the main elevations of the concert hall volume follows the music rhythm of Beethoven's fifth symphony.
1600-SEAT CONCERT HALL
The interior of the hall is inspired by "flying aspharia" from Dunhuang cave paintings. The general geometric outlines of audience seating and the color schemes all borrow heavily from these famous paintings. A vineyard design with nearly shoe-box proportions, the hall aims to achieve the best acoustic quality and the most intimate spatial relationship between audience and performers. Cloud like floating acoustic panels are adjustable for tailor-made acoustic effects that suits different performance and orchestras (including visiting orchestras).
400-SEAT CHAMBER MUSIC HALL AND THE LAKE
A dedicated chamber music hall is designed as an intimate "shoe-box", for ultimate acoustic performance. The back of the stage is operable and can open to the lake view and be linked with an exterior court-yard stage for special occasions. This brings the events to the outdoor and extend the performance toward the lake and landscaped park to the south of the project, for the general public.
LANDSCAPES, PLAZAS AND CITIZENS
A serie of plazas and courtyards surrounding and within the concert hall volume work to extend interior spaces to the out-door and to bring surrounding landscape views to the inside. The large entree plaza rises 1.5 meter as an platform to dignify the arrival; and also serve as a forum for public events. Various terraces are inserted at different levels of the building: some to serve as intermission outdoor spaces, some as courtyards for musicians between practice sessions. The park to the south of the concert hall will be landscaped as an informal out-door seating arena, with a full view of the south facade of the main concert hall elevation, and elevation which will have live broadcast (via projected image) of major performances within.
It is truly a concert hall for the people.