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PROJECT REPORT: CULTURAL, CIVIC & FAITH BUILDINGS


45


© Roland Halbe


polycarbonate and metal wall continues the pattern of triangles, which is repeated throughout the building. “Because it is underground, we wanted to create something that was very reflective and would bounce the light around; we were fighting this bunker effect,” says Seilern. While some natural light descends via the staircase, the wall, inspired by Alpine glaciers and rock formations, helps the area feel light.


The clients have ensured that the local community feels included, and indeed has a sense of ownership of this prestigious new venue. “They release tickets, and during construction they were taken around the site, and had a video done for the opening – they are incredibly proud, that it’s the first of it’s kind.” While there have been other classical music festivals in Swiss ski villages, this is the first to have a concert hall, and three festivals are currently planned for Andermatt.


Conclusion


“When a new hall opens, the musicians decide what’s right and what’s not,” says Christina Seilern. Following the showing of the project to musicians to ascertain their views in the project’s initial stages, the architects found they were able to harness their expert ears in persuading both client


ADF JANUARY 2020


and themselves of the need to both expand the space and rigorously detail it so that it performed in the best possible way. As a result, the finished building is proving very popular with its knowledgeable users, who in turn are able to perform at their best for paying audiences.


The building was opened in June last year with a concert by the renowned Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Although the ultimate demonstration of the light-filled, acoustically honed hall’s success, it was a nerve-wracking test-run for the architects. Seilern says: “It was quite daunting, because they are the critics at the end of the day.” However, she reports that the musicians were “very happy” with the space, and only made some technical comments regarding artificial lighting, “which is fine, we can solve that.”


Since opening, Seilern says musicians who have performed at the hall “are thrilled to see they have a new instrument to play with.” Its intimate nature is also a refreshing change for many performers, used to playing in cavernous 12,000 seat halls. A musician at the opening told the architect they were close enough to see an audience member had been moved to tears – a powerful demonstration of how this building can provide orchestras as well as audiences with a rare experience. 


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