L
E
A
P
P

VLTAVA Philharmonic Prague

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

VLTAVA Philharmonic Prague

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC

2021

CLIENT

Prague Institute of Planning and Development

TYPOLOGY

Culture

SIZE M2/FT2

49,715 / 535,120

STATUS

IN DESIGN

In May of 2022, the City of Prague unveiled BIG’s design for the country’s first national concert hall in over 100 years: The Vltava Philharmonic Hall. The new concert hall will become the home of the world-class philharmonic for 1800+ audiences, celebrate the Czech music tradition and cement the country as acultural capital in Europe.

 

The Vltava Philharmonic Hall is composed as a cascade of outdoor destinations from the waterfront on the river to the city’s iconic skyline. By raising and lowering the corners of the building at multiple touch points, the public spaces connect and allow activities to spill in and out of the building on every side: towards the river, the square, the street, and the alley. Visitors will be drawn in from all forms of arrival, with carefully chosen programs inviting them to explore the music venues inside or climb the elegant, arced roofs of the new concert hall.  

The new Philharmonic is conceived as a contemporary extension of Prague’s dramatic urban topography, as a cascade of outdoor destinations. A series of grand public plazas will become a new symbol of inclusionary architecture, welcoming a multitude of Prague’s vibrant urban life to flow across, around, through, under and over the new concert hall.

 

The site is bound by four key traffic corridors, the character of which informs the public space programming around the Philharmonic. Along the Western side, Bubenská passes the site and continues across the Vltava on the Hlávkův Bridge. Here, several modes of mobility are accommodated within the public realm. Along the North, the tram line runs adjacent to the new neighborhood development. As a car-free zone, this corridor becomes an important pedestrian and soft mobility connection to the surrounding neighborhoods. The new ecological corridor extending down from Stromovka Royal Game Reserve passes by the Eastern side of the site, creating a lush green buffer between the Philharmonic and the train line.

 

Most importantly, the Vltava River runs along the Southern side of the site, connected to the streetscape by a new waterfront promenade.

An essential public building for the Holešovice district and a new focal point for Prague, the new Philharmonic extends horizontally and vertically in all directions to create key urban connections and form a recognizable landmark for surrounding communities near and far.

 

The roofs are conceived as a continuation of the grand public plaza at the foot of the building. The undulating stepped form of the roofs allows visitors to meander to the summit of the building, as if climbing a hill. Slender vertical colonnades support the building’s roof terraces while undersides of warm timber from the Bohemian Forest provide shade and shelter. A space to sit and to gather, spaces for informal outdoor performances and views inward to the Philharmonic’s lively musical environment.

Arriving in the grand foyer, guests are greeted by a striking interior inspired by Czech Glass Artists which lead them into the music venues for a truly contemporary music experience. Arranged like petals of a pinecone turned inside out, the seats of Prague Hall are rotating within the compactness of a perfect square. The seating rakes meet at their corners to allow physical connectivity between every seat in the audience, providing a greater sense of unity and shared experience. Warm timber interiors provide balanced acoustics with a natural material, and form an environment designed to strengthen the intimate connection between the audience and orchestra.

"The Vltava Philharmonic Hall is composed as a meandering journey from riverbank to rooftop. Public flows and belvedere plazas unite the city life of Prague to the music within. Its halls are formed for sight, fine-tuned for sound, and orchestrated for functionality and connectivity. From this rhythmic structure, a symphony of colonnades and balconies extend as platforms for public life. Expressive yet pragmatic, the new Philharmonic will ascend to form a key landmark for Prague - from river to roof."

Bjarke Ingels — Founder & Creative Director, BIG

“The new Vltava Philharmonic Hall will be a symbol of openness, accessibility, and exploration. From the Vltava square, streets ascend upward connecting interior balconies with exterior colonnades and terraces. Like eighth, quarter, half and whole notes, the steps the benches, façade, and colonnade are perfectly on beat offering its resident orchestras effective and extroverted rehearsal areas, while bringing the audiences within the halls closer to the source in an environment that is both majestic and intimate.”

Brian Yang — Partner in Charge, BIG

Beyond being a major cultural destination for Prague, the building is crafted to maximize its potential to host external uses and special events. The venues are carefully designed to maximize flexibility for a range of uses – from the boldness of contemporary music styles to theater performances and digital exhibitions.

 

At the buildings summit, an elegant hyperbolic structure spans over the Vltava Hall and forms the iconic ceiling of a restaurant and event ballroom with views of the historic city center of Prague.

Bjarke Ingels Brian Yang Shane Dalke Alberto Menegazzo Christian Vang Madsen Dagmara Anna Obmalko Izabella Banas Jan Magasanik Laura Popa Louise Mould Luca Nicoletti Mads Primdahl Rokkjær Matteo Baggiarini Matthew Oravec Paula Madrid Peter Høgenhaven Polina Galantseva Santtu Johannes Hyvarinen Sarkis Sarkisyan Sorcha Burke Giulia Frittoli Giulia Vanni Tania-Cristina Farcas Karim Daw Giulia Orlando Eleanor Gibson Casper Klarén Ondrej Slunecko Yanis Amasri Sierra Alicia De Nobrega Khaled Magdy Zaki Ahmed Elfeky Clara Elma Margareta Karlsson Heinrich Froese Neto Jeremias Sas Iros Jonathan Chester Fernanda Furuya Paola Yepes Bocanegra Rohit Nandakumar Jialin Liang Anna Mesiariková Jonathan Christian Chin Anastasia Papaspyrou Nikol Maraj Jakub Misař Jan Goebel Eliška Slaměna Iveta Jakubčíková Camila Alzate Riano Rihab Soukkarieh Efstratios Sakellariou Sandrino Jan Deiana Nouran Wael Mohamed Rashad Mohamed Sherif Ali El Moussawi Tomáš Chrástecký Mahmoud Nagy Elsayed Stine Daude Hong-Bin Petingo Yang

COLLABORATORS

Theatre Projects & Nagata Acoustic
Buro Happold
AED
ETC
Systematica
Front
Mozses