Casa da Musica

June 14, 2009

Architect: Rem Koolhaas/OMA

Date: 2004

Location: Porto, Portugal

The Casa da Musica was built as part of Porto’s European Culture Capital year in 2001.

Casa da Musica

Casa da Musica

The Casa da Musica started as a house but when that project fell through and Koolhaas had only two weeks to finish the competition for the concert hall in Porto.  Koolhaas then submitted the design which exposes the public spaces including the theaters.

Stair in Window

Stair in Window

The theaters have windows that go into it and can be left open during shows to provide natural light.

Window into Theater

Window into Theater

The building was designed to be like an asteroid landing in the city and there are two waves of the paving to either side caused by the crash.

Wave from Casa da Musica Landing

Wave from Casa da Musica Landing

After walking around outside we went in for a tour of the building.  The building was designed to be open and allow access to the public even when shows aren’t happening.  For that purpose the main spaces are left open to wander about.

Main Lobby

Main Lobby

Main Staircase

Main Staircase

We headed across the lobby and headed up the back staircase.

Rear Staircase

Rear Staircase

Up at the top the the staircase was the room that acts as an sound barrier between the city and the exterior city.  This space is used as a backstage staging area during shows but during the day is open to talk through.

Air buffer between theater and exterior

Air buffer between theater and exterior

One of the most interesting parts was on the blackout curtain they had a drawing of the sound blocking curtain and it even was to scale.

Scale on Blackout Curtain

Scale on Blackout Curtain

From there we headed up into some of the colored rooms.  The first we started with was the green room where they sometimes perform smaller performances.

Green Room

Green Room

The next room was the Cyber Space which had a really interesting escalator that went into it.  This room also served as a space for a computer installation that allowed everyone in the room to create a musical composition together.

Cyber Space Escalator

Cyber Space Escalator

From their we headed in to see the actual main performance hall.

Main Performance Hall

Main Performance Hall

The main entry to the main performance hall was at the top of the main staircase.

Top of Main Staircase

Top of Main Staircase

We then wound our way up to the VIP Room.  The room is tiled in order to look similar to the Sao Bento Train Station.

VIP Room

VIP Room

We then continued up in the building to the Second major performance space which is a black box theater.  This theater also has windows that open to the outsided and even allows light in to the Main theater.

Black Box Theater

Black Box Theater

The Black Box Theater is served during intermission by the Hanging Bar.  This sits in the acoustical barrier space between the theater and exterior.

Hanging Bar

Hanging Bar

From there we headed through to some more of the smaller public rooms.  The first one was the very dark Purple room.

Purple Room

Purple Room

The last small public room was the Orange room which is about the opposite of the Purple room which is very calm and quiet.  All these rooms have views into the main performance hall.

Orange Room

Orange Room

This was the end of our tour and then we spent some time wandering around the building before heading off to see the rest of the city.  At night we returned to go to a concert.  It was a pianist by the name Pedro Gomes who ended up being really great.  This was really cool to see someone perform in this space.

We returned briefly the next day to see the restaurant which had not been open the day before.

Kool Resturant

Kool Resturant

The most interesting part is the terrace of the restaurant which overlooks the circle.  This terrace is cut out from the roof of the building.

Rooftop Terrace

Rooftop Terrace

Looking out from Rooftop Terrace

Looking out from Rooftop Terrace

This was one of the buildings that I knew before going and had anticipated seeing.  Rem Koolhaas had designed the MTCC and after having experienced that building and many of its problems I was interested to see if this was the same.  This building seemed to work much better than MTCC and I think it was just better looking.  Casa da Musica changed my view of Rom Koolhaas to be much better than it had been from the MTCC.

Photos

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