By Mandy Widjojo
One of the things that come to mind when listening to the rhythmic composition and delicate sounds of a symphony is a sense of place that’s peaceful and sanctuary-like. The Szczecin Philharmonic Hall in Poland is an apt example. Winner of the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award in 2015, the Szczecin Philharmonic Hall design makes it one of the most honourable works in European architecture and one of the most recognized buildings in Poland.
The first concert held at the hall took place in 1948, under the direction of Felicjan Lasota. In 1958, the concert hall was named after Mieczysław Karłowicz, a prominent Polish classical composer during the era. Fast-forward to 2014, the Philharmonic Hall relocated to the city of Szczecin, replacing a site that had been demolished during the Second World War.
Spanish studio Barozzi Veiga managed to bring the design to life using a few expressive elements. The Szczecin Philharmonic Hall design is influenced by neo-Gothic churches, as seen on the steep continuous monochromatic roof and upright structures. The double-skin façade forms an identical and harmonious appearance, additionally providing acoustic protection and natural ventilation. An LED innovative system turns the building into a glowing object by night. Furthermore, the use of glass as the exterior generates a bright monument that stands out, and allows for an appearance that changes with the seasons.
Inside, the variations of spaces can be altered to cater different kinds of cultural events – even the spatial staircase brings visitors through different levels of the hall. The warm, golden toned main symphonic hall can accommodate 951 guests. Focusing on traditional craftsmanship, the designers chose to use handmade hydraulic floor tiles with gold leaves to decorate the symphonic hall. The intricately designed wooden shells surrounding the hall stimulate admirable acoustics from the orchestra.
With a contemporary design and a memorable location, the Szczecin Philharmonic Hall is a melodious combination of music and architecture that truly transitions the historical city centre into a new era.
Photos by Szczecin Philharmonic Hall