Park Associati’s proposal for the competition for the new Concert Hall in Vilnius, Lithuania, stems from an in-depth reflection on the natural, historical and social elements that shape the place the new architecture is going to interact with. Park Associati’s Concert Hall is meant to be a sign of architectural innovation and modernity, an updated symbol of Lithuanian culture and, at the same time, a meeting and exchange place, a site that syntheses a well-rooted musical culture that is also open to experiences from the outside world.
Vilnius Tauras Hill, Lithuania
Filippo Pagliani, Michele Rossi
Alessandro Rossi (project leader)
Francesco Garofoli, Michele Versaci, Alexia Caccavella, Marinella Ferrari, Sofia Dalmasso, Erica Fassi, Ludovica Lamoure, Angie Aguilera, Marco Ghezzi, Frank Otuo Gyimah, Kazuki Okochi, Antonio Cavallo, Stefano Venegoni.
Structures, Energy Concept and Shell
Bollinger-Grohmann, Frankfurt am Main
Arau Acustica, Barcelona
Base Project, Paris
The Tauras Hill on which the new Concert Hall is going to be built in place of the existing building – a legacy from the Soviet period – looks like a gentle green promontory separating the historic city from the most recent urban developments. Always frequented by painters, this much-beloved symbolic place has become a favourite spot for portraying the city. The project’s site, the new building and the adjacent context require a masterplan configuration with a clear idea of public and private mobility and cycling, and pedestrian and sharing mobility circulation.
The two concert halls are distinct bodies set on the hill, in the lee of the slope. Characterised by different positioning and heights, the two Sassi (stones) are set slightly apart and give continuity to the two slopes of the hill without being a barrier between the wood and the green area on the hill’s side. A new landscape is thus created around the two volumes, which redefines the relationship between nature and architecture both lengthways and sideways.
Developing at right angles to the halls, The Urban Room, a luminous structure that houses the large lobby and the foyer, is one of the peculiar elements of the entire project. The Urban Room is structured starting from a very low, simple transparent volume in swamp oak wood, completely open to the city. This long spacious gallery gives access to the halls or allows visitors to simply stop, have a coffee and enjoy the view over the city. At its centre, in-between the two halls, an opening leads to the south-facing glass window. Thus is shaped the House of Nation, a focal point protected by the two halls and open towards the forest, a crossroads of cultures where music is the unifying element.
Entirely designed in wood, the Main Hall is a perfectly shaped parallelepiped that can seat up to 1700 people. Characterised by a deep stage, the hall can accommodate a symphony orchestra with a choir and features a large audience and three tiers of gallery seats. Its walls feature irregular geometries designed to reflect the sound and obtain perfect reverberation. Marsh oak wood and light oak alternate in the hall’s lower part and the upper part respectively. Above the stage, precisely studied bearing in mind the lines of sound reflection, a skylight brightens the hall with natural southern light.
The design of the 500-seat Small Hall aims to meet the needs of shows ranging from theatre plays to chamber music. The hall’s layout can be changed thanks to a mechanized moving system, and a large window behind the stage can be completely opened and reconfigured depending on requirements, thus reversing the relationship between the artists and the public.
A milky-white casing featuring different densities cocoons the halls and the House of Nation, generating an organic sculptural volume rising from the ground to cover the tops of the two buildings. Acting as connecting element between the paths, this shell articulates the empty spaces at the different levels, developing differently related spaces. At night, the casing becomes a lantern, a motionless point of light that reveals the smooth shapes of the internal volumes’ matter.
The design of the Concert Hall follows simple building principles of sustainability. Wood plays the leading role in this project; the country’s past and present are united also thanks to the choice of the two types of wood used. Sourced from Lithuanian forests or from the marshlands scattered throughout the country, oak wood is the element used to build the structures of the two halls and the lobby’s roof. The same wood is also used to finish the structures’ casing and becomes the element on which the most important factor of the interior – the acoustics of the two halls – depends.
Encompassing static and changeable spaces, places where people rest and move, transparency and substance, the architecture of the new Concert Hall in Vilnius establishes a dialogue with one of the most open and innovative cities in Europe.