The Sarajevo Concert Hall
Designing a concert hall can provide a very interesting set of challenges to the architects! Firstly as ever there is a problem of space; building land in setting is is usually in very short supply and not always in the place where we would wish it to be. Secondly, we live in an era of increasingly expensive energy and a large public building like a concert hall can require an enormous sums to keep it heated and properly lit. Acoustics have to be considered one of the most important factors; there is little point in inviting the world's top singers and musicians to perform at a venue in which the sounds they created were deadened or distorted. Finally, large public buildings have to be extremely versatile; usage can differ dramatically over time, and an efficient design should allow the use of the building to change to suit the requirements.
The architectural company Urban Future Organisation solved many of these problems in a novel way; they designed the building to not only go into the ground but also underneath it! As a consequence surrounding buildings were able to be left relatively unaffected and the use of divisive walls or barriers was minimised; acoustic problems were greatly reduced since birth is of course a wonderfully inert insulant; and is creative above the subterranean areas which provided not only a landscaped area which blended perfectly into the park that the hall was set within; but also an efficient open area which allowed free flow of pedestrian traffic.
The original design in 1999 won major awards and the innovations incorporated into the new improved design are expected to be utilised in numerous other projects in the future.
In this way a very rundown part of a city which in the not too distant past was synonymous with terror and tragedy is being upgraded with a facility which will be of benefit to the whole population, creating a green and pleasant park in the centre of an urban landscape.
© Piz Bronn 2006