TOP 10 performance halls of 2014




although the performance hall is traditionally a fairly fixed programmatic typology in architecture, 2014 has seen the realization of many expressive and forward thinking concert venues, theaters, and recital halls. these advances are often in regard to spatial and formal strategies, but additionally question the discrete functionality of the performance space by combining it with other uses in order to produce an inclusive cultural hub. in continuation of our end of the year reflection on TOP stories, we highlight ten performance halls that especially grabbed our attention.






house of music by coop himmelb(l)au

top 10 performance halls 2014 designboom

photo © martin schubert




the ‘house of music’ in aalborg, denmark, designed by coop himmelb(l)au, was completed this last year, serving as school and a concert venue. the cultural building is aimed at promoting the exchange of ideas and information among students, teachers and artists. the focal point of the fluid-formed structure is an expansive auditorium able to accommodate 1,300 guests. U-shaped rehearsal and training rooms articulated around this volume are connected through a spacious foyer that ends with a multi-storey area of glazing overlooking an adjacent fjord.






theatre de stoep by UNStudio

top 10 performance halls 2014 designboom

photo © jan paul mioulet




the UNStudio-designed ‘theatre de stoep‘ serves as a prominent cultural institution for the dutch city of spijkenisse. the structure’s composition coheres disparate program elements – including two separate auditoria – through a distinctive white roof form which sweeps in a unifying gesture, elevated above a lower glass volume. the 5,800 sqm facility features a larger auditorium, able to accommodate 650 guests, and a smaller hall with 200 seats.






concert hall in blaibach by peter haimerl

top 10 performance halls 2014 designboom

photo © edward beierle




as part of an urban redevelopment project aimed at revitalizing the center of blaibach, germany, architect peter haimerl has designed the town’s concert hall as a stone clad rectangular volume, which emerges from the ground with an inclined orientation. the building’s tilt produces the slope necessary for the auditorium’s seating, while also creating the building’s main entry from the adjacent public square. inside, the hall’s surfaces are made of overlapping pre-cast concrete panels, whose composition conceals the lighting and regulates acoustical qualities of the space.






aix en provence conservatory of music by kengo kuma and associates

top 10 performance halls 2014 designboom

photo © roland halbe




the kengo kuma-designed ‘aix en provence conservatory of music‘ is located in the south of france. the facility houses a 500-seat auditorium alongside various other facilities, and acts as as a cultural hub for the area attracting regional and international visitors. the building’s aluminum panel skin is folded at various points, creating an intricate play of light and shadow across the pleated façades. the expressive feature is in part a subtle homage to paul cezanne, the locally born post-impressionist painter, and to origami – the traditional japanese paper folding technique.






pandora hall by NL architects

top 10 performance halls 2014 designboom

photo © luuk kramer




the ‘tivoli vredenburg‘ music center unites disparate concert halls, designed by separate architecture offices, into one structure for shows of a range of genres including jazz, pop, classical, metal, EDM, and more. within the overall framework, NL architects has contributed a formally complex and seemingly floating performance space dubbed ‘pandora’. its geometry morphs to link the central concert area to other parts of the building while also extending to the exterior façade for views outward to the surrounding city – utrecht, the netherlands.






albi grand theatre by dominique perrault architecture

top 10 performance halls 2014 designboom

photo © georges fessy / DPA / adagp




the ‘albi grand theatre’ has been realized following a winning competition proposal in 2009 by dominique perrault architecture. located in the historic center of a southern french city, the stable rectilinear building is juxtaposed by a dynamic and light weight copper mesh which wraps all four elevations, while lifting toward the two public plazas to create its main entrances. this metal rain screen visually dresses the structure and protects it from environmental forces.






szczecin philharmonic by estudio barozzi veiga

top 10 performance halls 2014 designboom

photo © simon menges




barcelona-based architecture practice estudio barozzi veiga completed a new philharmonic for the city of szczecin, poland. the building is arranged as a series of steeply-pitched volumes while clad in translucent glass. the building contains two concert halls conceived of as suspended boxes, and form a central open lobby lit by skylights. the 951-seat symphonic hall and 195-seat chamber hall are built entirely of concrete for optimum acoustic isolation and light control, while expressing faceted surfaces.






cineteca nacional by rojkind arquitectos

top 10 performance halls 2014 designboom

photo © rojkind arquitectos / photo by paul rivera




containing mexico city’s national film archive and the film institute of mexico, the ‘cineteca nacional siglo XXI‘ provides its guests with an expansive and welcoming range of facilities. conceived by rojkind arquitectos, the design is characterized by a large perforated metal roof that interfaces in a contrasting manner with an existing structure. the canopy covers a foyer space capable of accommodating concerts, theater, and a range of exhibitions. additionally, an outdoor amphitheater, extensive landscaping, and new retail spaces were added to the original program.






poppodium music venue by van dongen-koschuch

top 10 performance halls 2014 designboom

photo courtesy of van dongen-koschuch




the ‘poppodium music venue‘, by amsterdam-based practice van dongen-koschuch, is characterized by a collage of pronounced rectangular windows and false (brick-infilled) fenestration. the envelope treatment fuses contemporary sensibilities with references to the surrounding 19th century urban context. envisioned as the creative and cultural heart of venlo, the netherlands, the centerpiece of the scheme is an auditorium capable of hosting 550 people.






beethoven festspielhaus competition

top 10 performance halls 2014 designboom

image courtesy of beethoven festspielhaus




in dedication to the historically renowned composer beethoven, a concert hall, or ‘festspielhaus‘, is being planned on a site along the rhine river in the composer’s hometown of bonn, germany. following a design competition comprised of ten internationally-based architecture offices, a shortlist of three firms has been selected, including david chipperfield architectskadawittfeldarchitektur, and valentiny hvp architects. through november and december of 2014, the three final teams will take their schemes into further detail, while a finalist will be chosen in 2015 following cost estimation.


for additional entries, declined by the jury, see here.