The task which we had to solve with our design was to create a space with 300 seats (or 700 standing spectators) for experimental performances of the Bavarian State Opera. The Pavilion should be dismountable, transportable and re-mountable and make the respective urban space distinctive through its shape.
Mass and therefore weight are the decisive criteria for good acoustics. The conception of the Pavilion 21 MINI Opera Space therefore had to overcome a contradiction: to design a lightweight construction which must allow to be dis- and re-assembled quickly, but which at the same time meets the acoustical requirements of a concert hall.
Hence how do we create the conditions for good acoustics despite a reduction of mass? Already the first considerations fixed in drawings show the basic concept of the Pavilion to introduce elements which are on the one hand the spatial transformation of sound sequences, and which on the other hand develop sound reflecting and absorbing properties through their pyramid-like shape: “Soundscaping”.
The idea to combine architecture with music is not new. Also the term soundscaping is not new. Similar to landscaping it involves “Gestalt”. Soundscaping originates in the 1940’s and designates a method of composing. In architecture, Le Corbusier and Iannis Xenakis together engaged in the topic of music and architecture when they thought about three-dimensional implementation of musical compositions (Le Corbusier’s Philips Pavilion and the partition of the windows in La Tourette).
Our strategy to achieve soundscaping comprises three steps: Firstly, to realize the shielding effect between square and street, secondly, to shape the geometry of the Pavilion in such a way that the surface deflects noise, and thirdly, to design the surface of the Pavilion in such a way that it reflects and absorbs sound.
As a starting point towards the abstraction of music into spatial form, a sequence from the song “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix and a passage from “Don Giovanni” by Mozart were transcribed. Through the analysis of frequency sections from these pieces of music and through the combination with the computer generated 3D model, the sequences are translated into pyramidal “spike constructions” by means of parametric “scripting”.
In order to implement the objectives of the interior spatial acoustics, the interior wall and ceiling surfaces were fitted with a combination of perforated absorbing and smooth reflecting sandwich panels. The flooring of the Pavilion is carried out as a reflecting even “stage floor”. Sound reflecting, parallel wall and ceiling surfaces are avoided and are therefore tilted or skewed. The development of the acoustical elements was carried out together with the acoustics department of Arup; the applied construction and materials were worked out with Frener & Reifer.
The architectural design of the inner space is complemented and enhanced by an installation in the lounge developed by cat-x. The complex multiple projection not only illuminates the interior of the lounge, but changes the perception of the space, so that the architecture seems to move.
The oscillating movements interact with the sound coming from the Opera Pavilion and react to the current performances. Thereby the content - the music - is transported from the auditorium to the lounge, mapping audio “inside out”. According to the formal strategy of the architectural concept – the transformation of the spectral information of an audio signal as basic element of the form – is translated into a real-time concept for the design of the projections.
Space is transformed into sound, sound is turned into light and light (re- and dis)forms the structure, thus creating an abstracted mini opera feedback space. The edges of the architectural structure are emphasized by brighter projections. To enhance the contrast, the illumination between them is reduced. A minimalistic colour- and sound flow covers the surfaces; the spectral information abstracted from the current audio signal flows into these spaces.
Wolf D. Prix & Partner ZT GmbH
Design Principal: Wolf D. Prix
Project Partner: Paul Kath
Project Architect: Volker Kilian
Design Architect: Sophie-Charlotte Grell
Project Team: Daniel Bolojan, Wendy W Fok, Martin Jelinek, Daniela Kröhnert, Valerie Messini, Judith Mussel, Martin Neumann, Renate Weissenböck
Models: Sebastian Buchta, Paul Hoszowski
3D Visualization: Isochrom / Armin Hess
Photography: Markus Pillhofer
Acoustics: ARUP, London, UK
CAT-X, Vienna, Austria
Concept: Hannes Köcher, Florian Prix
Programming: Hannes Köcher
Project management: Florian Prix, Claudia Oriold
On-site setup: Geari Schreilechner, Ruben Bunka, Hannes Köcher, Florian Prix
Site area: 1,790 m²
Net area: 430 m²
Gross area: 560 m²
Footprint: 560 m²
Volume: 4,350 m³
Height: 12.5 m
Length: 38.5 m
Width: 25.5 m
Building costs: EUR 2.1 Mio net (excl. VAT
Technical description Light installation
Projections: 5 Panasonic PT-D6000 with wide angle lens
Software: custom Max/MSP Jitter patch via Dual Matrox Triple Head Output
Structural: custom cat-x/Artex projector mounting