Designs revealed for Crystal Hall at Eurovision Song Contest venue in Baku
In May 2012, the Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Azerbaijan’s capital Baku at Crystal Hall. Alpine Bau Deutschland GmbH, the general contractor for the project, was contracted on 2nd August, 2011 to design and implement a multipurpose event-venue that is meant to accommodate 25,000 spectators. This challenging task was undertaken by combining the efforts of gmp. Architekten von Gerkan, Marg und Partner, Alpine Bau Deutschland AG, and Nüssli International AG.
The Eurovision Song Contest takes place every year, which means that this striking crystal-shaped building on the peninsula near the city centre, right in the Caspian Sea and in the direct vicinity of one of the world’s highest flagpoles, had to be designed and constructed within a period of just eight months. The building is not a concert hall in the classical sense but a multi-functional indoor arena, which is intended to be a longer-term facility. Normally, event venues of comparable size, such as a football stadium, will require 4 to 5 years for design and construction.
Instead of the usual reinforced concrete construction, the building has been designed as a pure steel structure which consists of three independent parts, i.e. the membrane façade, the modular stadium itself and the interior roof. In order to be able to put up a building of the size of a football stadium in just a few months, design and construction proceed in parallel. An important tool in this complex process is the detailed visualisation of the entire work schedule: it covers and displays each step in chronological order in weekly sequences. A prerequisite for the success of this novel working method is the extensive experience in design, management and construction scheduling provided by the consortium, as well as very good communication between the design team and the construction companies.
The characteristic crystalline shape of the building and its illuminated façade is the response to Azerbaijan’s special request for the creation of a widely visible and visually effective landmark as a bridge between Asia and Europe that will be noticed in an international context. Different dynamic lighting scenarios are currently being programmed for the 9,500 LED lights to highlight the membrane façade and create moods appropriate for the different stages of the events.