This Sunday I visited Casa da MÃºsica, the famed Rem Koolhaas designed music hall in Porto, Portugal. Conceived to look as if it were dropped from space like a meteor, the building rarely lets one forget where they are: The inside is made to feel integrated with the outside. In other words, there are a lot of windows. A few photos with commentary from my tour below.
Unifying architectural details include brushed aluminum floors in virtually any hall space, as well as exposed concrete, dry wall and virtually any other trendy raw looking building material in the shade of gray. The rooms, typically include oppositional windows and some kind of fancy wall treatment on the ceiling and one to two of the remaining walls.
I doubt I’ve ever seen a more impressive hall. The seats are designed to absorb sound the same way a body does, so music will sounds the same with a full concert hall as it does without. Organ pipes hang from both sides of the wall though neither are functional. There wasn’t enough money in the budget to make them work, but since their presence would effect the sound design of the room, they were mounted with knowledge that they would one day be completed.
Mixing the high with the low, the hall uses cheap pine on the walls, but overlays a gold leaf design reiterating the wood’s pattern. The gold leaf is suffering a little wear and tear already, but it’s still a beautiful effect.
Custom built machines needed to be made to produce this glass, but it was well worth the expense. The shape of the glass mimics a sound wave and is designed to redistribute sound evenly through out the hall. In this auditorium, the music will sound the same at the front and back of the room.