BLNK: Inside Casa da Música

by Art Fag City on May 24, 2011 BLNK

Casa da Música's spaceship like entrance.

This Sunday I visited Casa da Música, 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.

Most photographers make this building look great. I found the precise angle it looks like an office from New Jersey.

Another angle from which the interior resembles the corporate head quarters of a Fortune 500 company

Chairs and high ceilings

My tour guide tells me some of the paint is coming off the walls because once people discover the texturing is made of foam they like to punch it. That wasn't my first instinct.

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.

Casa da Musica music hall with a hanging canopy that reflects sound

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.

I'm told kids love rolling down this orange ramp. duh.

It's only photography that makes viewing the concert hall impossible through the wavey glass. In person, it's easy to see what's below without distortion.

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.



An optical illusion: While the tiles appear different sizes, they are in fact all the same

The fire escape. Apparently Casa da Musica stopped opening this window shortly after the building was opened to the public. A journalist excising "due diligence" exited the fire escape and climbed to the top of the building. I'm not sure what fact checking was achieved from that perch, but whatever it was it won't be done again.

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