Wood for the good sound
The “Pierre Boulez Hall” in the Barenboim Said Academy, the private music college in Berlin, is shaped to emulate a snail’s shell. In the building that was once the main storeroom for the “Unter den Linden” Staatsoper, the route moves in loops from one row down to the next right down to the central stage. The curved shape of the space, which is 850 square meters in total, was dreamed up by star architect Frank Gehry – the interior fit-out was handled by the Lindner Group. Wood is the main material used for the hall. For the cladding for the ceiling and wall elements, which extend across over 1,600 square meters, the choice fell on a High quality composites with Douglas fir wood veneer. The veneer’s warm color tone decisively contributes to the inviting feel of the hall. The stage as the center of the space stands out for its bright wooden floorboards in "Yellow Cedar" – they are 50 millimeters thick and thus provide robust foundations for coming events. The prime acoustic properties of the hall are the product not just of the elliptical shape: The outer cladding of the first rank was covered with an acoustically effective fabric. To this end, all the ceiling elements made of high-grade composite materials are clad with a woven that enhances the acoustics. Safety is guaranteed by all the doors and air-locks being fire- and sound-proof and the ceilings and wall cladding being flame retardant.
As part of the hall fit-out, the Lindner Group also provided the fixed furniture, the benches and the metal railings on the floor. The blue and red covers chosen for the 685 seats create an exciting contrast to the natural and discreet color tones of the wood: The design is again courtesy of Frank Gehry. The modular rows of seats can be re-configured as needed. Unusually, the stage is not surrounded by a barrier. This means that those in the stalls can enjoy the music in the immediate proximity of the musicians and conductor, a fact that intensifies the hall’s intimate atmosphere. The "Pierre Boulez Hall" will in future enrich Berlin’s musical life – by hosting as many as 100 chamber music concerts a year. (am)