17.9.2009

Franz Liszt Concert Hall in Raiding, Austria

Since the beginning of the modernist period, the concert house has been in crisis. 18th and 19th century halls conformed to a system of proportions, with architecture shaping room acoustics. During the past century, this system was abandoned.


Architects designed free and organic spaces whose acoustic properties had to be «tackled» after the event by engineers by means of supplementary elements. This led to a somewhat technical and additive effect which sacrificed a hall’s integrated character.

The concert hall in Raiding is an attempt to achieve a synthetic, integrated space. The design reverts to the classical proportional system of the concert hall as a «shoe box.» The space is formed by a grid of laminated timber construction that is subdivided by double curved wooden panels. These coffered walls form a unified structure which distributes musical sound uniformly throughout the space. The application of purely architectural resources produces an acoustic that has no need of technical auxiliaries. A sounding space is created that is comparable to the halls in which Liszt himself performed.

In its external configuration, the building responds strongly to the surrounding park. The foyers enclose the concert hall and open generously onto the landscape. The birth house of Franz Liszt is presented to visitors on a green pedestal and appears like an icon that becomes a part of the concert experience. In its exterior design, the building’s white walls and large wooden gates allude to the rural architecture of this Austrian region. On the other hand, the experimental use of polyurethane façades and acrylic for the windows distances the hall from traditional models. Despite the constraints imposed by a very restricted construction budget, the hall represents a successful prototype for a concert house set in the countryside.

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