“In 2020, the world will celebrate the 250th birthday of Beethoven, and soon after the anniversary of his death. In light of this, a new “world-class” concert hall, a “Festspielhaus”, is being planned for the banks of Beethoven’s beloved Rhine River in his hometown of Bonn, Germany. More than 50 practices were considered in the pulmonary selection process, following a shortlist of ten, and now three final proposals by David Chipperfield Architects, kadawittfeldarchitektur and Valentiny hvp architects have been selected to move on to the competition’s final round.”
Zaha Hadid made it to the short list and the exterior shot of her design looks pretty cool to me – but somehow, it doesn’t make me think of Beethoven or even music.
Some of the criticism on the the Architecture blogs is naturally, along the lines of “the designs need to be more revolutionary, because Beethoven was, you know Beethoven.” Or something. I dunno. Look. No one submitted a design consisting entirely of a gigantic bust of Beethoven’s head with a gaping open mouth that serves as the entrance way! Oh. That would be the upcoming Beethoven Wax Museum of Horrors and Concert Hall planned for Hollywood, or Las Vegas, or … maybe that underwater city of sin I’ve been talking so much about.
I kind of like the design Valentiny hvp came up with. And check out the interiors – all are gorgeous. Notice how the audience seating actually wraps all around the orchestra? I think that’s a European thing – I don’t know of halls here in America designed like that; but I’ve seen You-Tubes of European halls and that seems to be how some are set up.
I don’t know what has been going on in concert hall design lately (especially in Europe!) where the interiors of new concert halls are not just dreary, but uncomfortable looking to sit in, lighting a nightmare because none of it is designed in, and the staging areas are so ugly and plain, they’re difficult to even look at. The Beethoven Festspeilhaus interiors look good to me though. Of course, how the hall sounds will be the final judgement. That’s got to be a tough gig, being the acoustical engineer on this project!
Freude, schöner Götterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium,
Wir betreten feuertrunken,
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum!
Deine Zauber binden wieder
Was die Mode streng geteilt;
Alle Menschen werden Brüder,
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.
Those building options are pretty cool– my experience of EURO performing halls– is that they are pretty nice — but those are the older ones— all the new ones in the country are interesting but not very comfortable!
The comfort factor doesn’t seem to figure in when it comes to Euro-designed halls. I try to avoid being overly critical/nasty considering maybe I just don’t get it; but I could post a recently designed and built hall in Germany (no!) that looks like an underground prison, not a concert hall, that sports all metal wire weave seating, simply screaming out for a nice purple, plush velvet, butt-pad. For crying out loud, some of that music goes on and on! My aching a$$!