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A Living Masterwork

The Philharmonie: Architecture Serving Music


Did you know that the experience of music begins long before the murmuring voices in the hall have died down and the conductor’s baton rises? Let your gaze wander for a moment. From the floor to the ceiling, from the rounded façade over the curvature of the seat rests in the Grand Auditorium to the circular shape of the Foyer – everything about this masterwork by architect Christian de Portzamparc evokes sound: its form, its movement, its effect on us. It reminds us that the notes created on the podium are no mere abstraction, but a phenomenon that is physically perceptible, to which our hearts and our bodies react.

At the Philharmonie, de Portzamparc has created a dynamic and living pathway in the service of music and music lovers. As soon as one crosses the threshold, the Foyer and its famous flawless pillars captivate visitors, a forest of columns encasing 44.000 cubic metres of space, distance us from the city and its noise. From here, we pass either into the Grand Auditorium with its classic «shoebox » footprint, the acoustics of which are said to be among the ten best in the world, or into the chamber music hall (Salle de Musique de Chambre). The latter is located at the heart of the building; its layout conveying the intimacy of a cocoon. Its ceiling, decorated with the signs of the zodiac, points to the many mysteries of the universe.

Apart from these two oases, the Philharmonie also offers the Espace Découverte and two Salles de Répétition, often used for children’s events. The Foyer itself can be transformed into a versatile and open stage. We hope you enjoy discovering «Kirchberg’s jewel»!