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Architecture for Music: Berlin Philharmonie

This is the Sunday Series, a peek of things in the art music world.

Music has a close bound with architecture for quite some time. Concert halls are also the ones which effects the music and also effected by music. They have also given birth to great architecture designs in the globe.

This series presents the beauty of the structure, in which music creativity flows abundantly.


This Berliner Philharmonie or The Berlin Philharmonic Hall is the fruit of innovation, one of the first concert building designed as four-sides concert hall where the stage is located in the middle and the audience seats surround it.

The building is located on Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße, named for the Philharmonic’s longest-serving principal conductor, in the Kulturforum area of Berlin not far from Potsdamer Platz. The hall is the primary concert venue of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. There is a sister music venue, the Kammermusiksaal, next to the Philharmonie proper. The Philharmonie has 2,440 seats, whilst the Kammermusiksaal has 1,180.

~ from wiki

The complex hosts about 500 concerts every year. About half of them use the main Philharmonie hall while the rest utilize the smaller Kammermusicsaal. The Philharmonie is the base of Berliner Philharmoniker, one of the most respected orchestras in classical music tradition.

The interior of its lobby is not as fully decorated as the more recent concert halls. The lobby is predominantly white and can be regarded as uninteresting. But the whole building is designed very specifically for its use and the quality of its acoustics.

Hans Scharoun designed the hall, which was constructed over the years 1960-1963. It is a singular building, asymmetrical and tentlike, with the main concert hall in the shape of a pentagon. The seating offers excellent positions from which to view the stage through the irregularly increasing height of the seat rows. The stage is at the center of the hall, with seats surrounding it on all sides. The Philharmonie is highly regarded for the quality of its acoustics.

While the former is the picture of Philharmonie Hall, the following is the picture of The Kammermusicsaal or Chamber Music Hall. It is quite similar in configuration of seats, the difference is the capacity. Philharmonie has 2,440 and the smaller hall has 1,180 seats. The stage is also smaller.

The building caught on fire on May 20th this year. The fire was caused by the welding of its roof where the fire started. But it only caused minor damage and zero casualties. After two weeks of reparation, the hall was already prepared to stage concerts. (more on this news…)


About mikebm (1339 Articles)
An arts journalist, a conductor, an educator, a young arts manager whose passion drove him to leave a multinational IT cooperation to study Arts Administration and Cultural Policy in London and went back to Indonesia to build the scene there.

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