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42 PROJECT REPORT: CULTURAL, CIVIC & FAITH BUILDINGS


© Kanipak Photography


on the main square.” It’s in fact located behind the Radisson Blu hotel, but the architect’s solution has ensured it presents an intriguing face to the local community. Studio Seilern lifted and extended the existing steel roof (which would have made the ceiling only around 6.5 metres high) well above grade, increasing the volume from around 2,000 m3


to 5,340 m3


The ‘origami-like’ ceiling and wall design was devised by the architects and acousticians to create the best possible sonic results; in so doing it also provides an appealing visual geometry


. This


enabled the building to host a full 75-piece symphony orchestra, and to seat 663 in the auditorium with the help of a concrete ‘backpack’ added to provide an upper gallery of seating. This addition also required magnanimity from the architect of an adjacent hotel, who had to redesign the scheme to give room for the extension to the concert hall. With the client having strong ambitions to attract the leading orchestras, the design team toured other concert halls, including the flexible new space by Frank Gehry for pianist Daniel Barenboim’s Barenboim-Said Akademie in Berlin. This has a similar size in plan to the Andermatt Concert Hall, but is 12 metres high; Seilern says “it’s pretty obvious when you’re in there why you need that height.”


The big increase in height obviously meant a considerable uplift in cost (the


WWW.ARCHITECTSDATAFILE.CO.UK


project ended up costing 16m CHf), and the client needed careful convincing this was in line with their ambitions. Seilern explains how canvassing the views of the musicians who would use the space was essential: “What helped us enormously was not us telling the client, but the musicians, that was what really unlocked the project. They said ‘we’re not going to play in that little hall.’” The continuously glazed upper level, peering above the ground, allows people walking past to have a glimpse down into the hall – and three pale, cloud-like acoustic fiberglass sculptures – and even to see an orchestra playing below. The full-height glazing also brings in copious natural light, as well as views of the surrounding mountains, into the hall itself. The architects explained: “The romantic idea was that if it was a winter concert, the audience would be surrounded by a whirlwind of snow, and in the summer surrounded by nature and sunshine.” This “active frontage” turns the building


into a “spectacle” externally, says Seilern, and internally marks it out among other concert halls, which tend to be somewhat closed off from their surroundings for acoustic reasons. Here full-height glazing runs continuously around the above-ground


ADF JANUARY 2020


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