Renowned for its musical and artistic culture, Yekaterinburg in Russia will soon receive a new concert hall that mimics the form of soundwaves and will offer an unprecedented musical experience and thriving public space to meet the City's musical aspirations.
Zaha Hadid Architects won the award for the international design competition to build the new Sverdlovsk Philharmonic Concert Hall, located below the Ural Mountains in Yekaterinburg, next to the old hall that is located in a civic assembly building. Their design will echo the “physical aspects of sound waves” and is based on the “properties of musical sound resonance creating wave vibrations in a continuous smooth surface”, according to the architects, which manifests as a spectacular suspended auditorium that floats above a thriving public space.
The public space will act as both a lobby for the concert hall and as an urban plaza for the local community. Glass facades will blur the interior and exterior, allowing for visitors to seamlessly visit and vacate the precinct, and will open out to a renovated amphitheatre for summer performances.
The auditorium features a 1600-seat concert hall and 400-seat chamber music hall that are “nestled within the surface deformations of the suspended canopy”, according to the architects. The chamber hall will offer stunning views out a colossal window across the Weiner Gardens, which will be landscaped as part of the project. “The grand auditorium and the smaller auditorium come together to create an inverted topography that signals and signifies the movement of visitors and other guests alike through the public spaces,” explained Christos Passas, project director at Zaha Hadid Architects.
Above the precinct, a rooftop terrace creates additional public spaces that over the city’s Church of All Saints.
Yekaterinburg has a rich musical culture and has established its reputation as an artistic hub. The acclaimed Ural Philharmonic Orchestra has performed in more than 20 countries worldwide and has a passion for cultivating young talent and a following of passionate music lovers. This significance further solidifies the city’s need to create a musical precinct that reflects this status and cultural significance.
“Russia has been a formative influence on Zaha Hadid Architects’ creative work,” said Passas. “From very early in her career, Zaha was attracted to the Russian avant-garde who conceived civic spaces as urban condensers that catalyse a public realm of activity to enrich creativity and community; allowing space itself to enhance our understanding and well-being. These principles are embedded within the design of the new Sverdlovsk Philharmonic Concert Hall.”
The key idea behind the new concert hall is the concept of tying together the old hall and the green space. Rather than creating a separate building, it is an extension that connects the old with the new and brings the community together.
The competition consisted of 47 international teams and was organised by the Ministry of Construction and Infrastructure Development of the Sverdlovsk region, assisted by a not-for-profit foundation that supports the Ural Philharmonic Orchestra.
The original Sverdlovsk Philharmonic building was originally constructed back in 1936 and is still a popular destination to this day. The new venue hopes to inspire a greater interest in the hall’s repertoire from the public and increase annual revenue and interest, while also creating a new public space for the community.