STUDIES: City Concert Hall in Katowice, 2010

Conceptual project of the new concert hall for Katowice was made as one of my solo projects during studies. Concept was born not long before Katowice – capital of Silesian Voivodeship, city that made its best to become the European Capital of Culture in 2016, lost the pace to other polish city, Wrocław. It was then, when authorities of Katowice decided that Katowice need some fresh ideas, new architectural icons and public spaces of “European quality”. After that, new places arised, such as Concert Hall of NOSPR (National Symphonic Orchestra of Polish Radio), new placement building of Silesian Museum, International Conference Centre, renovated Main Railway Station, SuperSam trading mall or new City Square.

But before all of this, young Architecture student from Silesian University of Technology was to face one of the most difficult projects in his live up-to-date. I intentionally took a shot in designing large-object that had a potential to become a new architectural symbol of central Katowice. The possibilities seemed endless to unleash my creativity, analytic skills and knowledge about new technologies in architecture, as well as to dig up some local stories and traditions, to better understand the city that now I can call one of my homes.

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Building had to be located at the end of Plebiscytowa street – an urban axis of communication, conjoining two important objects on map of Katowice: Cinema Theater “Rialto” and Archcatedral of Christ the King. Such a large object was to be placed exactly between the neoclassical theatre building of 1912 and nineteenth century blocks of flats, next to the railway. Such area made it very difficult to find the balance in everything the building had to offer: filling an urban tissue between both cultural heritage buildings, visual exposition as well to Plebiscytowa street as to passengers of trains moving nearby, and of course there was a great problem of proper sound management – it had to be a city concert hall next to a busy railway!

As time between next reviews to the deadline was getting shorter and shorter, my project began to emerge. From the very blurry silhouette to the details of construction, placement of functions and even the details of technologies of acoustic devices implemented into the heart of the building – the hall.

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The main idea was based on a stave – a horizontal guide for the notes, that spirals and twirls in the mind of a listener thanks to the moving power of music. The building’s users were meant to naturally find their place in its communication system, just as notes on the stave be led through the foyer of concert hall to the administrative and recreational functions. Realization of this idea was meant to be in a form of ingenious vertical communication system – glass elevators riding up and down on steel cables, their system at the same time holding spiral stairway, made of light concrete and frosted glass. This communication system became the main part of my building’s concept.

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Main concert hall is designed into a shoe-box style, in an elegant wooden construction with sound panels and special walls helping to mute the reverb during a concert and make the place visually appealing to classical and orchestral music lovers. At the top of concert hall musical workshops found its place with classrooms surrounding a spacious atrium. Below the main mass of the building there is also an underground parking lot, accessible right from the nearby street.

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Although the project couldn’t be realized in an epic manner as I would imagine it – because such large concepts should be developed in a groups of designers, if you ask me – I was quite satisfied with the final concept’s state. For sure this project helped me in understanding many important features of a good public design with keeping my artistic thought still in its spirit.

/ Des

Made with: ArchiCAD, Artlantis, AutoCAD, Free-hand drawings, Corel Draw, Corel PhotoPaint.
Consultation: Damian Radwański, dr inż. arch. (PhD Arch., Eng.)

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