Zaha Hadid Architects gives shape to sound


The ZHA firm of the late Zaha Hadid will design the Ural Philharmonic Orchestra Concert Hall in Yekaterinburg

The ZHA firm was selected to build the Sverdlovsk Philharmonic Concert Hall in Yekaterinburg in Russia, the proposal by the London-based firm was selected by an international jury among those of 47 other teams.

The project by ZHA is located in the city of Yekaterinburg, the economic and cultural heart of the Urals, the country’s third largest economy and fourth in terms of population (1.5 millions). The city, which has been constantly growing over the past years, represents a crucial junction between East and West, Europe and Asia, and has been able to build an important and much appreciated musical and artistic tradition over time. This is also thanks to the Ural Philharmonic Orchestra, well-known all over the world and based there. Currently the orchestra plays in the existing Sverdlovsk Philharmonic building, dating from 1936, the year of its formation. The project for the new Philharmonic hall responds to the growing demand for concerts and the need for more space for the orchestra, as well as the will to create a new public space for the city.

The new building designed by ZHA: the shape reinterprets sound to define spaces and functions

The new building designed by ZHA emerges from the urban landscape and redefines the morphology of the  city block with its curved roof: public spaces are redesigned (the contiguous Weiner gardens) as well as the accesses, connecting the existing buildings – including the current Philharmonic concert hall – and building a new glassed volume to house spaces for music. 

Specifically, the new building will include a main 1,600-seat concert hall, a smaller 400-seat one and a lobby which is both the foyer of the theater and an enclosed public square. After coming up the steps, visitors will be enveloped by the canopy leading to the large lobby with a glass facade offering views of the street and the gardens. From here they will be able to access the large main hall, which from the outside appears as a curved volume suspended within the canopy, the ancillary spaces and the rooftop terrace.

As stated by Christos Passas, project director at Zaha Hadid Architects, in a video published by the firm when presenting the proposal, the new volume “echoes the physical aspect of sound waves, the design of the new philharmonic concert hall is based on the properties of musical sound resonance creating wave vibrations in a continuous smooth surface”. Therefore the shape of the new philharmonic concert hall re-interprets sound to define space and functions where - continues Passas – “the large auditorium and the smaller one come together to create an inverted topography that signals and signifies the movement of visitors and other guests alike through the public spaces."

The curved roof designed by ZHA recalls the shape of sound waves and redefines a city block

The architecture firm ZHA chose fluid lines for the new Ural Philharmonic Orchestra Concert Hall, a plastic volume which takes shape in the existing urban fabric and opens up to the city. A building which will pair with the Sberbank Technopark, the large complex for Information Technology to be built by 2021 at the Skolkovo Innovation Center in Moscow, considered Russia’s Silicon Valley.


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