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Zaha Hadid Architects wins Russian concert hall contest


Zaha Hadid Architects has been chosen to build a major new concert venue in Yekaterinburg, Russia, following an international design competition

The AJ100 practice saw off nearly 50 other firms to land the commission for the Sverdlovsk Philharmonic concert hall, which will become the home for the Ural Philharmonic Orchestra.

Italian-based Alvisi Kirimoto + Partners came second in the contest, while Hungary’s Robert Gutowski Architects was third.

The scheme, featuring a 1,600-seat concert hall and a 400-seat chamber music hall, will sit between the existing city’s 1936 Civic Assembly Building, the orchestra’s current base, and the Weiner Gardens, and will overlook a new public plaza.

The project is backed by Sverdlovsk Region’s Ministry of Construction and Infrastructure Development. 

Zaha Hadid Architects project director Christos Passas said: ‘Russia has been a formative influence on Zaha Hadid Architects’ creative work.

From very early on Zaha was attracted to the Russian avant-garde

‘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.’

Artistic director and principal conductor of the Ural Philharmonic Orchestra Dmitry Liss, a member of the competition jury, described the design as ‘a musical instrument that brings the sound to life’.

The scheme has been designed to mirror the ‘physical aspects of sound waves’.

The project’s timescale is not yet known.

08 zha sverdlovsk philharmonic concert hall weiner gardens render by va

08 zha sverdlovsk philharmonic concert hall weiner gardens render by va

Architect’s view

Considered the capital of the Urals, the city of Yekaterinburg is Russia’s third largest economy. Its population has increased by over 10 per cent in the past decade to 1.5 million and continues to grow as the primary hub and meeting point connecting east and west, Europe and Asia; attracting the many cultures, talents and industries from across Eurasia.

Yekaterinburg has built a rich musical tradition and established its reputation as a cultural and artistic centre. The city’s acclaimed Ural Philharmonic Orchestra has performed in more than 20 countries and collaborates with renowned artists worldwide. The orchestra cultivates aspiring young talent and has as its foundation a dedicated, passionate and growing society of music lovers in Yekaterinburg and around the world.

Performing to full houses all year round in the existing Sverdlovsk Philharmonic building that dates from 1936, the orchestra’s new home will provide an inspirational venue to meet the increasing popularity of the orchestra’s programme of concerts – and also create a new public plaza for the people of the city.

The design is based on the properties of sound resonance creating wave vibrations in a continuous smooth surface

Echoing the physical aspects of sound waves, the design of the new philharmonic concert hall is based on the properties of musical sound resonance creating wave vibrations in a continuous smooth surface. The design re-interprets these physical acoustic properties to define spaces for the auditoria that are suspended within the canopy, appearing to float above the new civic plaza that is both the lobby of the concert hall and an enclosed urban square.

Providing a 1,600-seat concert hall and a 400-seat chamber music hall of the highest acoustic standards, these new auditoria are nestled within the surface deformations of the suspended canopy; liberating the lobbies from obstructions to open this space as a vibrant new gathering place for the local community.

This new 21st-century addition will inhabit the void between the existing buildings and Weiner Gardens; not competing with these heritage buildings, but complementing the ensemble that will include the preservation and renovation of the current concert hall as an integral element of the new world-class facility that will be one of the focal points of the city’s cultural life.

Similarly, the new building does not impose upon the adjacent Weiner Gardens but seamlessly merges with the natural landscape; opening its transparent glass facade to offer views of the renovated gardens that includes an amphitheatre for outdoor performances throughout the summer.

The lobby serves not only as an introduction to the world of symphony music, but also as a welcoming public plaza for all members of its local community.

The new auditoria are nestled within the surface deformations of the suspended canopy

The existing Sverdlovsk Philharmonic Hall is housed within the city’s old Civic Assembly Building that was originally built as a club for all citizens to gather.

The new design revives and enhances this commendable civic legacy; its spaces designed to function as a centre of Yekaterinburg’s civic, social and cultural life.

Enhancing its connections with the surrounding urban fabric of the city, large glazed facades blur the boundary between interior and exterior; inviting visitors to experience the spaces within that celebrate public gathering, civic forum and creative endeavour. The Philharmonic Concert Hall’s procession of interconnected public spaces continues through the building to its rooftop terrace overlooking the city’s Church of All Saints.

04 zha sverdlovsk philharmonic concert hall lobby render by va

04 zha sverdlovsk philharmonic concert hall lobby render by va

Project team

Architect Zaha Hadid Architects 
Principal Patrik Schumacher Design director Christos Passas Project architect Alessio Costantino Design lead Ben Kikkawa, Melhem Sfeir, Zsuzsanna Barat, Afsoon Es Haghi
Local architect: Speech (Moscow); Sergey Tchoban, Marina Kuznetskaya, Daria Demidova
Structural engineering: AKT II (London); Daniel Bosia
MEP engineering Atelier 10 (London); Meredith Davey, Ivan Jovanovich, Piers Watts-jones, Younha Rhee
Façade engineering Optimise (London); Scott Cahill, Adam Willetts, Tim Macfarlane (Glass Light and Special Structure)
Landscape design Arteza (Moscow); Irina Chebanenko
Theatre consultant Theatre Projects (London); David Staples, Dave Agnes
Acoustic engineering design Marshall-Day (Melbourne, Hong Kong); Peter Fearnside, Peter Exton, Thomas Scelo
Lighting design OVI (New York); Enrique Peininger, Jean Sundin and Markus Fuerderer

10 zha sverdlovsk philharmonic concert hall 3dsection

10 zha sverdlovsk philharmonic concert hall 3dsection 


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