The City of Prague announced the international competition results for the design of the Vltava Philharmonic Hall. The winning project is designed by Danish studio Bjarke Ingels Group – BIG. The new concert hall aims to become a focal point for the city and reinforce Prague's reputation as a European cultural capital. The proposed volume of the new Philharmonic Hall presents a recognizable image while also being well integrated into the complex topography of the Vltava riverbank. Visitors are invited to follow the meandering series of plazas connected by sloping roofs that take them from the riverbank to the rooftop, promising views of the historic city center of Prague. Spanish architecture practice Barozzi Veiga collaborated with local office Atelier M1 and won second place. Bevk Perović Arhitekti and Petr Hájek Architekti won third and fourth place, respectively, while Snøhetta's proposal was declared the fifth winner.
The alternating shape of the roofs, with their corners, either lowered or raised to create connections, and the distribution of the colonnades supporting them create a rhythm that is evocative of the fine-tuned sound of orchestras, according to architect and partner in charge Bjarke Ingels. The undersides of these structures are covered in timber from the Bohemian Forest, permeating from the exterior to the interior and creating more informal spaces for gathering or art performances.
The winning proposal envisages the construction of three halls: the Vltava Hall, the primary concert venue, and the more versatile Prague and Holešovice Halls. Arranged like petals of a pinecone turned inside out, the seats of Prague Hall aim to optimize views for every audience member. Furthermore, warm timber interiors give a feeling of intimacy and have the added benefit of balancing acoustics.
The Vltava Philharmonic will be the home of two orchestras: the Prague Symphony Orchestra FOK and the Czech Philharmonic. Venue spaces are designed to adapt to a wide range of events, from the boldness of contemporary music styles to theater performances and digital exhibitions. The building is also crafted to maximize its potential to host external uses and expand the orchestras' educational programs toward the larger public.
On a personal note, this project may be one of the most important for me as an architect and as a Dane. The architect Jørn Utzon is a national hero in Denmark, less for the work he got to realize at home but more for his work on the Sydney Opera House on the other side of the planet. He showed the world how modern architecture could embody forms and reanimate traditions that had long been replaced by the international style of modern boxes – and in doing so, he captured the identity of a continent and the world’s imagination. For Prague, we have attempted to imagine a building inspired by the journey of its namesake River and informed by the three-dimensional complexity of its very urban site. - Bjarke Ingels, Founder & Partner, BIG.
The international architectural competition for the design of the Vltava Philharmonic Hall was announced by the City of Prague and the Prague Institute of Planning and Development (IPR Prague). A total of 115 teams from 25 countries entered the competition, and five renowned architectural studios were also invited to participate in advance. The jury selected 19 finalists and awarded five prizes.
The selected proposals demonstrate the potential of this site, which will become the central point of the new Bubny- Zátory district. Second place winners, Barozzi Veiga and Atelier M1 propose a more compact yet sculptural volume. At the same time, Bevk Perović Arhitekti, awarded third place, dissimulates the building's appearance through overlapping glass curtain walls. Invited participants CHYBIK + KRISTOF (CHK) and Mecanoo's wrap the building in ribbons that separate the music halls and form an open-air amphitheater.
The complete list of finalists:
- ALA + OV-A
- OFFICE KGDVS + Christ & Gantenbein
- Mecanoo + CHYBIK+KRISTOF
- Barozzi Veiga + Atelier M1 (2nd place)
- Sou Fujimoto Architects
- Cobe + Lundgaard & Tranberg Architects
- ŠÉPKA ARCHITEKTI
- Bjarke Ingels Group (1st place)
- Henning Larsen Architects
- Carrilho da Graça Arquitectos
- JAJA Architects
- Bevk Perović Arhitekti (3rd place)
- Petr Hájek Architekti (4th place)
- Diller Scofidio + Renfro
- Snøhetta (5th place)
- Ateliers Jean Nouvel
- David Chipperfield Architects + Jakub Cigler architekti