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Neues Musiktheater, Linz, Austria

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Lined up for Linz

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Building commences at Linz's Neues Musiktheater 

Scheduled to open in 2012, the new 45,000 sq m building represents a significant architectural commission and exercise in urban planning in Austria’s third largest city, involving the development of a new urban block as an extension of the city centre. The building which features a 990-seat theatre auditorium, 270-seat studio theatre and a 200-seat public rehearsal room will provide a new home for the Linz Opera Company and the Bruckner Orchestra.

Construction work commenced following 12 months enabling works, which involved re-routing the city’s principal dual carriageway in the area of Blumau south of the city centre, to create a site on the corner of the Volksgarten, Linz’s ‘Peoples Park’. Together with the park, the new building will provide a cultural focus at the end of the main pedestrian route through the city connecting it to Hauptplatz and the River Danube.

The final detailed scheme retains the curved form and simple diagrammatic plan of the original winning competition proposal (2006), with front of house facilities facing onto the park and workshops and ancillary service spaces pushed to the rear to act as a sound buffer to the adjacent railway line.

The entire building is wrapped in a uniform façade of white cast stone frame and natural stone infill panels, which draws open like a curtain at the three storey glazed elevation that overlooks the park. The strong vertical rhythm unifies the façade and echoes the idea of an enfilade of classical columns, making reference to both the traditional grandeur of Viennese theatres such as the Burgtheater and the Staatsoper in Vienna as well as the modernism of rationalist architects such as Terragni and Moretti.

This veiling theme continues from the elevation treatment through to the performance spaces.

Inside, screens of timber columns define and unify the public areas, running seamlessly into the principal auditorium, which is also lined with slender timber louvres.

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Terry Pawson Architects

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