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UFO goes underground in Sarajevo concert hall win

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Urban Future Organisation (ufo), a fledgling London-based practice, has won a major international competition to design an underground concert hall in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo.

Formed in 1996, ufo won with an 8000m2 design on several levels underneath the earth, at present a rubble-strewn area beside the bombed Bosnian parliament building.

It will cost £15 million and have a 1500-seat concert hall with a 500- seat chamber-music auditorium, restaurant, cafe, bookshop, library and underground parking. The competition was run by the cities of Rome and Sarajevo for the 2001 Biennial of Young Artists of Europe and the Mediterranean.

Katarina Larsdotter, a Swedish trainee architect working on a diploma in Sweden and part of the firm, said the spaces would 'whirlpool' down from three entry points at ground level. 'A plaza will form the top of the building at ground level,' she said. 'We want to blur the boundary between public and private space and the elevated built form is very hierarchical. The plaza will form an extension to the city itself. We wanted the people on it to be the monument, rather than designing a monumental building.' Work on the site is due to start in 2001 and end in 2003.

The practice was formed by Architectural Association postgraduate Andrew Yau and aa diploma student Denis Balent. It includes another aa postgraduate, Jonas Lundberg, Bartlett postgraduate Steve Hardy, and Sicilian Claudio Lucchesi. The team met while working and studying in the uk and decided to form ufo in 1996.

Also working on the project are engineer Adams Kara Taylor, service engineer bdsp Partnership, Halcrow Fox as traffic engineer, acoustic consultant Sandy Brown Associates, Davis Langdon & Everest as cost consultant, and Carr & Angier, theatre consultant.

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