Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has won an international design competition in search of proposals for the future Vltava Philharmonic Hall in Prague. Upon completion (more on that in a bit), the approximately 535,000 square meter waterfront cultural complex located in the trendy Northern Holešovice district will be the first National Concert Hall in the European capital in over a century. As noted by the Czech media Prague morning, the newest concert hall in the city, the Smetana Hall of the town hall, debuted in 1912.
The Vltava Philharmonic Hall, which will house both the Prague Symphony Orchestra FOK and the Czech Philharmonic, will be named after the 267-mile-long river that runs through the heart of the city., “will connect the traditional cultural scene of the Old Town with the modern art scene of the Holešovice district and become a new social heart for Prague and the surrounding public domain.”The building is part of an extensive waterfront revitalization program that will eventually give way to The New Bubny-Zátory district, will rise on a large industrial wasteland near the Vltavská metro station.
The selection of projects by the jury was announced by the city of Prague and the client of the project, the Institute for Planning and development at a gala held at the Center for architecture and Metropolitan Planning earlier this week.
The large proposal, led by the responsible partners Bjarke Ingels and Brian Yang, was selected from a pool of 19 applications, including proposals from SANAA, MVRDV, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Henning Larsen Architects, Ateliers Jean Nouvel, and others. Also in the running was David Chipperfield Architects, who happened to beat Big (along with Diamond Schmitt Architects, KWS Architects, and ERA Architects) and four other shortlisted teams in another major global competition for a redevelopment project in Ottawa’s parliamentary district, whose winning design concept was also announced earlier this week.
According to the architectural magazine, the finalists of the competition were Barozzi Veiga with Atelier M1, Bevk Perović Arhitekti, based in Slovenia, the local firm Petr Hájek Architekti and Snøhetta.
Several key employees join BIG in the larger project team, including: theatre projects and Nagata Acoustics (acoustics), Buro Happold (engineering), AED (architect/local engineering), ETC (transport), Systematics (mobility), Front (facades) and mosses (visuals).
Described by Yang as” a symbol of openness, accessibility and exploration” ” The Moldova Philharmonic Hall will include not one but three separate halls, including a formal concert hall for 1,800 people optimized for classical music, as well as two more devoted and versatile halls, one of which will be dedicated to chamber music performances. New facilities are also planned for the music department of the Prague City Library and a large number of public facilities such as cafes and restaurants.
As stated in a statement, “the ambition of the Moldova Philharmonic is to attract not only classical music lovers, but also the general public.”While live music is an obvious draw for Prague residents and visitors, the waterfront complex itself promises to be an important new attraction for the city. it attracts guests to the site with a ” series of large public squares will become a new symbol of inclusive architecture, welcoming the multitude of Prague’s vibrant urban life to continue, through, below and above the new concert hall “” BIG explained.
In particular, the stacked and superimposed roofs of the glass building extend to the ground floor at various points, connecting the large public square at the base of the building to the stair-shaped structure itself, inviting visitors to climb and explore the building without ever having to enter it.
“The undulating, stepped shape of the roofs allows visitors to meander to the top of the building, as if climbing a Hill,” explains BIG. “Thin vertical columns support the roof terraces of the building, while the warm wooden undersides of the Bohemian Forest provide shade and shelter. A space for sitting and gathering, spaces for informal outdoor performances and views of the Philharmonie’s lively musical surroundings.”
In addition to Wood of national origin, glass produced in the Czech Republic will also play a key role in the construction of the building.
The Moldova Philharmonic Hall is the first ongoing project for BIG in Prague or the Czech Republic and, as Ingels noted, it is a project with a special meaning:
For Prague visitors looking for Holešovice and Prague’s newest iconic cultural attraction in the near future, don’t hold your breath-construction of the Vltava Philharmonic Hall is not expected to begin until 2027, and work is expected to be completed by 2032. Although the project is far from open, Holešovice, a former industrial area that is now filled with galleries and cafes and is among the coolest neighborhoods in Europe, is still worth a visit.