With the brief to remodel a 1950s concert hall embedded within a complex of historic buildings, we seized the opportunity not only to design an exemplary new symphonic concert hall but also to create a new public place for Antwerp. Our design response transforms the visitor experience, celebrating a sense of arrival and offering clear and legible circulation and wayfinding, together with world class acoustic performance within the new concert hall.
The new shoebox configuration of the auditorium, developed with renowned American acoustician Larry Kirkegaard, achieves optimum acoustic quality. By carving out space between the auditorium and the surrounding historic buildings, we created a soaring atrium and a sequence of intelligible and generous spaces. We also revealed the Art Nouveau façades of the previously concealed buildings, creating new visual connections across and through the complex and providing a historic counterpoint to the auditorium's contemporary façade which now asserts its presence in the atrium and the main entrance foyer.
Throughout the project we were inspired by the crafted nature of Antwerp's heritage and the delightful decorative details of the surrounding historic buildings. We reinterpreted and transposed this rich sense of materiality within our design proposals, exemplified in the auditorium's façade and its warm and intimate interior, and balanced to enhance the enjoyment of both world class classical and contemporary music and theatre.