Atelier Thomas Pucher strike the right note in Warsaw

Kerry Boettcher
Monday 30 Mar 2015

Design delivers optimum sound and vision through fusion of ‘shoebox hall’ and ‘arena’ formats

The world-famous Warsaw Symphony Orchestra is getting a new home. Atelier Thomas Pucher won the competition to design the new concert hall in Warsaw, beating 137 international competitors. This month, the mayor of Warsaw announced the approval of the budget and the start of design for the project, which is due to open in 2020. 

The 28,000 sq m cultural centre will be Poland’s most important cultural project for many years. It will seat 1,800 spectators and will have world-class acoustic properties, large rehearsal areas, hospitality and merchandise facilities, and the Sinfonia Varsovia Musical Academy, an institution dedicated to the spreading of music to the general public. 

A floating wall contains the symphonic hall and rehearsal areas. It floats above the foyer, and is seen as a seamless connection of the formal gardens to the building. There are also hidden rooms and stairs, a narrow surveillance path at its top and nooks and crannies with extraordinary views and atmosphere. 

The concert hall is a fusion of ‘shoebox hall’ and ‘arena’ type performance spaces. While the traditional shoe box hall offers the best acoustics, the arena offers the most scope for uninterrupted views. Put together, these two types offer the best of both worlds, creating an intimate space where the orchestra and audience can interact. 

This unique fusion is created through constructing the main shape of a rectangular hall with ideal acoustic dimensions and inserting seemingly free formed bands of balconies with perfect angles for audience views. The three-dimensional flow of the balconies and the specific relation to the rectangular volume allow th acoustic properties to be developed on a world-class level.

For audiences, this means that each listener is situated as near to the orchestra as possible, allowing them, in essence, to be ‘inside the music’, which makes for a dramatic and inspiration musical experience.  

The WAN Performing Spaces Award is now open for entries.

Kerry Boettcher

News editor

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