25.2.2008

Music School, in Karlsruhe

Urban concept

The integration of the project in the urban design and its relation with the castle are the two main approaches for the design of the amplification of the music school in Karlsruhe, Germany.

The site is located between two big green areas: the «green entrance» in the north and the Ostauepark in the south. The site with the existing castle functions as a connector between these two green areas. The location has the character of a big garden: dense vegetation, green areas, old trees. The project should preserve the character of the site as a green space and even enforce it.

The castle Gottesaue is the main existing building on the site. The new designed music school should be integrated in the existing surrounding and preserve the visual relations with the castle. The music school should not dominate or compete the castle but extend and complete this historical site.

Concept

The amplification of the music school is not just the design of a new building but moreover, to create an atmosphere. After revaluating the existing green, the idea is to densify the border of the project site by adding chestnut trees. The new music school is designed between the dense green border of the site and a clear open void in the centre. The low building is creating the border of a clearance, a void. The project becomes a piece of sensorial landscape. During the year, the character and atmosphere of the site will change according to the seasons.

The four institutes and the functional spaces of the hall create a border, the limit of the void. The created space will become a public garden: a place of exchange, interaction and public life. The more technical programme – the multifunctional hall and the two rehearsals rooms – are situated in a box; an sound machine with optimal acoustics to respond to the needs of the musicians.

Architectural concept

The project design follows the symmetrical implantation of the masterplan and completes it. The two main entries to the site are situated north and south of the castle Gottesaue. The project preserves the historical axes without enforcing it.

The programme is functionally divided in two parts. The four institutes north of the site and the multifunctional hall with its belonging functional spaces in the south. Both parts can be accessed from a common, covered outdoor space next to the castle. The entrance hall of the multifunctional hall is directly connected with the main entrance and can be used independently from the other functions.

The rooms of the institutes and the functional rooms belonging to the hall are situated around the public space, the garden. They are seen in the idea of an «exedra»: spaces that are opened by a porch to a green public space. The created covered outside space is a place to stay, to relax, a place to meet and socialize.

The building lies harmoniously in the environment, and the facades orientated to the garden are completely out of glass. The landscape reflects in the facade, the project becomes part of the landscape and disappears in it. What remains visible is a filigree architecture: two plaques and a line of pillars. There is no division between inside and outside space. To create certain privacy inside the building, the facade is made of reflecting glass which permits students to see outside and protects them of views from the outside.

Materiality

The new building is entirely made out of concrete, simple modest material which will assimilate more and more to the environment during the years. The architecture of the building for the institutes and the functional spaces of the hall is quiet minimal: two plaques supported by pillars. The facade to the garden is made of glass and its transparency enforces the relation between inside and outside. In contrast to the front facade, the back facade is mostly closed to be protected from noise impacts. Some openings permit to light up the floors and to create views to the surrounding.

The multifunctional hall

The big hall is planned as a multifunctional hall. It can be used for every kind of events responding to the special needs. For this, the hall is seen as a kind of mix between an experimental laboratory and a representative hall. These two characters define the atmosphere of the hall.

The experimental laboratory, a space with maximum flexibility and the corresponding equipment. The walls of the hall are covered with big curtains, which envelop the whole space. They create some charm of a classical theatre and permit to adjust the acoustic to the different uses of the hall. By moving a gallery at the back wall of the spectator’s space, it is possible to offer best views for the concerts and performances.

The whole floor of the hall is in wood, like a theatre stage. The idea of the hall as a laboratory is enforced and the whole hall can become one big scene.

Functional description

The programme is functionally divided in two parts. North of the parcel are the institutes and south is the multifunctional hall with the belonging rooms. These two parts are entered from a common, covered outside space next to the castle.

The foyer is leading to the hall, its functional spaces and the two rehearsals rooms. The hall is a box in a box. The space between contains the circulation and technical elements and is at the same time an acoustic buffer. At the two sides of the hall are staircases to access to the floor of the balcony and the rehearsals rooms. In the back of the hall is the depot of the gallery and on top the studio for light and sound.

Tree big lifts bring people from the entrance hall to the rehearsals rooms which are illuminated by zenithal light. Musicians also have the possibility to take another lift which leads directly to the backstage spaces.

The delivery is done from the Schlachthausstrasse. A lift brings the ware down to the workshop, the technical spaces and the store. The demanded car parks, situated west, are accessible from the Schlachthausstrasse.

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