zaha hadid architects: JS bach chamber music hall
jul 08, 2009
zaha hadid architects: JS bach chamber music hall


image courtesy of zaha hadid architects © luke hayes

zaha hadid architects recently completed their chamber music hall at the manchester art gallery. the installation is home to performances of the music of johann sebastian bach, currently taking place as part of the manchester international festival. a fabric covered steel structure swirls within the room, carving out a spatial and visual response to the intricate relationships of bach’s harmonies.


image courtesy of zaha hadid architects © luke hayes

text from zaha hadid architects: ‘the design enhances the multiplicity
of bach’s work through a coherent integration of formal and structural
logic. a single continuous ribbon of fabric swirls around itself,
creating layered spaces to cocoon the performers and audience with in
an intimate fluid space.’


image courtesy of zaha hadid architects © luke hayes

‘the process of realizing the design involved architectural
considerations of scale, structure and acoustics to develop a dynamic
formal dialogue inseparable from its intended purpose as an intimate
chamber music hall. a layering of spaces and functions is achieved
through the ribbon wrapping around itself, alternately compressing to
the size of a handrail then stretching to enclose the full height of
the room. circulatory and visual connections are continually
discovered as one passes through the multiple layers of space
delineated by the ribbon.’


image courtesy of zaha hadid architects © luke hayes

‘the ribbon itself consists of a translucent fabric membrane
articulated by an internal steel structure suspended from the ceiling.
the surface of the fabric shell undulates in a constant but changing
rhythm as it is stretched over the internal structure. it varies
between the highly tensioned skin on the exterior of the ribbon and the
soft billowing effect of the same fabric on the interior of the ribbon.
clear acrylic acoustic panels are suspended above the stage to reflect
and disperse the sound, while remaining visually imperceptible within
the fabric membrane.’


image courtesy of zaha hadid architects © luke hayes

‘programmed lighting and a series of dispersed musical recordings
activate the spaces between the ribbon outside of performance times.
the installation is designed to be transportable and re-installed in
other similar venues. pivotal to its function is the performance of the
ribbon. it has been designed to simultaneously enhance the acoustic
experience of the concert while spatially defining a stage, an intimate
enclosure, and passageways. it exists at a scale in which it is
perceived as both an object floating in a room as well as a temporal
architecture that invites one to enter, inhabit and explore.’


image courtesy of zaha hadid architects


image courtesy of zaha hadid architects


image courtesy of zaha hadid architects


image courtesy of zaha hadid architects


image courtesy of zaha hadid architects


image courtesy of zaha hadid architects


image courtesy of zaha hadid architects


image courtesy of zaha hadid architects

project details
client: manchester international festival
programme: chamber music hall
architects: zaha hadid architects
design team: melodie leung, gerhild orthacker
acoustic consultant: sandy brown associates
fabricator: base structures
tensile structural engineer: tony hogg design ltd.
site: manchester art gallery, t1 gallery
site area: 17m x 25m

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