Blue Cube of Light
Blue Cube of Lightby Robert Uhde | 20.01.2012
Copenhagen concert hallThe new concert hall by Jean Nouvel in Copenhagen is a striking cube with a textile shell illuminated in blue.
Architectural Lighthouse on Amager
Since the 1990s, the new Copenhagen quarter of Ørestad is being built on the island of Amager. Only 1,500 meters away from downtown, the new concert hall of the Danish state broadcasting company (DR Koncerthuset) has opened its gates at the beginning of 2009. The 240 million Euro building, part of the new DR headquarters and designed by French architect Jean Nouvel,integrates four concert halls of various sizes with between 250 and 1,800 seats.
Flowing Connection of Architecture and Music
Just as impressive as the concerts of various musical styles staged inside is the outside of the 45 meters high, 96 meters long and 58 meters wide ashlar. As a response to the site, which was still uncultivated at the time when the competition was held, Jean Nouvel enshrouded his new building with a cobalt blue piece of textile.
The nearly end-to-end shell creates a catchy response to the abstract urban context and also serves as a giant canvass for abstract projections and images from the world of music and radio. At night – which begins early in the afternoon during Scandinavian winter – the new building turns into a magical body of light; architecture and music merge unnoticed and together form a powerful symbiosis, allowing an insight into what’s going on inside. Behind the textile hi-tech material, the cylindric glass-concrete construction of the inside can be seen from outside in outlines and details of varying intensity, depending on the time of day and viewing angle.
After the opera in Lyon and the concert hall in Lucerne, the new building in Copenhagen is the third concert hall Jean Nouvel has realized during the past few years. The main access of the ashlar is via the glazed building corner towards the Southeast, adjacent to a new water basin. From here, visitors get into the four different concert halls via an open lobby with untreated concrete and wooden surfaces. The largest one, a sonic landscape clad in wood without any right angles with a central orchestra stage and ascending balconies running all around, can take up to 1,800 people and is 24 meters high. The organically curved facings and sound sails remind of designs by Dane Arne Jacobsen. The three smaller halls are reserved for Rock, Pop and Jazz events.
The house’s acoustics has been realized by Yasuhisa Toyota, who was also in charge of the sound concept of the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie. People say the musicians of the Danish broadcasting company’s orchestra have wept with bliss after rehearsing inside the new building for the first time: “Architecture is like music, it exists to touch and delight us”, says Jean Nouvel.
Jean Nouvel, Paris, France
Denmarks Radio, Copenhagen, Denmark