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Architecture for Music: Lucerne Concert Hall

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 and opera houses are also the ones which effects the music and also effected by music. These structures are devoted to music, from within them we witness the grow of musical arts.

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



Lucerne Festival is one of the foremost music festivals in Europe. Located at the heart of Europa, Switzerland, this city in the mountains hold special place in the heart of musicians.

Eventhough this festival is not as historical as their counterparts such as Salzburg and Bayreuth, but this festival itself emerged as a response from musicians about the political situation in Europe in 1938. This festival is organized by  the famed conductor Arturo Toscanini


This hall is the actual home of Lucerne Festival Orchestra, an orchestra which is comprised of the best musicians in Switzerland. But this hall is also used to house the concerts of many world’s first class orchestras in the festival period.


“This is a pure concert hall, so the acoustics were the most important,” says Johnson. “The goal was excellent acoustics for everything from unamplified guitar to early music, a string quartet or an orchestra of 150 with a chorus of 20. Musicians assume that a large concert hall cannot satisfy them as soloists or for a quartet. They can’t believe that this room can be so hospitable to so many different kinds of music.

The doors and adjoining walls are covered with white plaster sound-diffusing tiles. As required, the doors can open to any angle up to 90 degrees. When the doors are closed, the room’s reverb time is 2.2 seconds (perfect for chamber music) and it can be extended to a thundering five or six seconds with the doors open. The side walls can be covered with computer-controlled curtains to deaden the sound of the room for meetings or rehearsals.

~from here


Built with a budget of over $150 million, the official German name of the project is the Kultur und Kongresszentrum Luzern, or KKL. In English, this translates to Lucerne Culture and Congress Center, of which the 1,840-seat concert hall is the piece de resistance.

The concert hall itself has a dramatic design–very tall and narrow (based on the classic shoebox shape), with three balconies wrapping around the walls. A few rows of seats behind the stage can be used for a chorus or additional seating. The floors, stage, seat backs, and concert ceiling are made of blond wood, adding warmth to the mostly white interior. The front pipes of an organ yet to be fully completed have also been installed and these too are in warm wood tones. The ceiling is dark blue studded with twinkling lights. ~from here



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.

2 Comments on Architecture for Music: Lucerne Concert Hall

  1. That does sound fine however , i’m just still not so sure that I prefer it. Anyhow will look further into it and decide personally! 🙂

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