Rem Koolhaas/OMA, Rotterdam
CASA DA MUSICA, PORTO, PORTUGAL


INTRODUCTION

How to make a serious building in an age of icons?
How to make a Public Building - or a Building Public - in the age of the market?
A building without nostalgia, not even for Modern Architecture?
A European building for a Portugese site?


URBANISM

Paradoxically, the fact that Porto is still a city "intact" has maintained the unique status of the solitary building ...

Instead of articulating the new concert hall as a segment of the circular wall around Boavista plaza, we have chosen to create a new, more intimate square, surrounded on three sides, on which the Concert Hall stands like an autonomous object.

This carefull discontinuity enables us to create a specific context for the new building and to organize issues of symbolism, visibility and access all in one gesture ...

Through both continuity and contrast, Boavista plaza, after our intervention, is no longer a mere hinge between the old and the new Porto, but it becomes a positive encounter between two different models of the city.


ARCHITECTURE

In any conflict science versus art, science always wins.

Acoustics versus Architecture is such a fight.

Where to innovate in a case of a traditional typology like the concert hall?

This century has seen an architecturally frantic attempt to escape from the tyranny of the notorious "shoe-box" that remains, for the specialists (including our own) the best guarantee for perfect acoustics.

Where Sharoun was still able to avoid the rectangular form in Berlin, Gehry in Disney Hall yields again to the inevitability of the old prototype. Through its very stability, it is hard to make it part of the contemporary world.

Instead of a struggle with form, we have adressed the relationship between the Concert Hall and the Public.

Most cultural institutions serve only part of a population. A majority knows only their exterior, only a minority knows what the feel like inside.

By considering the building as a solid mass from which we eliminate the two concert halls and all other public facilities, we create a hollowed-out block as exciting fo those outside the block the building as it is for those inside.

It reveals its contents without being didactic; at the same time it exposes the city in a way that has never happend before.

By dividing the programme in collective spaces that are excarvated and secondary serving spaces - vertical transport, facilities, offices, storage, etc. - the building is both clear and mysterious - the diagram becomes architectural adventure.


Client: Porto 2001
Location: Porto, Portugal
Site: Rotunda da Boavista, a round square not far from the centre.
Program: Concert hall with 1,200 seats, auditorium with 350 seats, rehearsal and recording rooms, a restaurant, a music shop, a café, a roof terrace, educational and cybermusic facilities, a car park for 600 cars and a public plaza.

OMA:
Competition: Rem Koolhaas and Fernando Romero with Isabel da Silva, Barbara Wolff, Uwe Herlyn, Matthias Hollwich, Adam Kurdahl, Moritz von Voss, Shohei Shigematsu, Jens Hommert, Erik Schotte, Donald van Dansik, Anna Little, Alexandre Moreno, Frans Blok, Govert Gerritsen, Stephen Griek, Ana Jacinto, Thomas Duda
Design Development and Tender: Rem Koolhaas, Ellen van Loon, Fernando Romero, Adrianne Fisher, Isabel da Silva, Robert Choeff, Barbara Wolff, Saskia Simon, Christian Kronaus, Paulo Costa, Thomas Duda, Ana Jacinto, Constantin von der Muelbe, Rita Armado, Philip Koenen, Peter Müller, Krystian Keck, Eduarda Lima, Christoff Scholl, Alex de Jong, Nuno Rosado

Structure: Ove Arup + Partners, Cecil Balmond, Rory McGowan, Patrick Teuffel; AFA Lda, Rui Furtado, Pedro Moás.
Mechanical: Ove Arup + Partners, Steve Jolly, Tim Thornton, Stefan Waldhauser;RUA
Acoustics: TNO - TUE Centre for Building Research, R. van Luxemburg, M.Hak, M.Prinsen
Scenography & Lighting: Ducks Scéno, Michel Cova.
Facades: van Santen Associés
Curtains: Inside Outside
Furniture: Maarten van Severen
Construction Documents: RK, EvL, AF, Peter Müller, Isabel da Silva, Olaf Hitz, Duarte Santo, Nelson Faustino
Local Architect: ANC Arquitectos: Jorge Carvalho, Teresa Novais.
M2: Concert Hall -23000m2; Car park 28000m2; Plaza 7500m2
Start construction: August 2000
Completion: Under construction
Principal materials: White concrete, corrugated glass, travertine, plywood, aluminium.
Budget: Concert Hall and Car park €50 million.

Partner in Charge: Rem Koolhaas
Project Manager: Ellen van Loon
Project Architect: Adrianne Fisher
Team: Fernando Romero, Isabel da Silva, Robert Choeff, Barbara Wolff, Saskia Simon, Christian Kronaus, Paulo Costa, Thomas Duda, Ana Jacinto, Constantin von der Muelbe, Rita Armado, Philip Koenen, Peter Müller, Krystian Keck, Eduarda Lima, Christoff Scholl, Alex de Jong

Structure: Ove Arup + Partners, Cecil Balmond, Rory McGowan, Patrick Teuffel; AFA Lda.
Mechanical: Ove Arup + Partners, Cecil Balmond, Rory McGowan, Patrick Teuffel
Acoustics: TNO - TUE Centre for Building Research, J. van Luxemburg, M.Hak, M.Prinsen
Scenography: Ducks Scéno, Michel Cova.
Facade: van Santen
Interiors: Inside Outside: Petra Blaisse

OMA website www.oma.nl

Archphoto thanks OMA and Mr. Jan Knikker

copyright archphoto 2003-OMA