838 projects

Vltava Philharmonic Hall

Project name:
Vltava Philharmonic Hall Prague
Praha 7 – Holešovice
Bjarke Ingels Group A/S
Czech Republic, Capital City of Prague
Bjarke Ingels, Brian Yang
AED project, a.s., Aleš Marek, Buro Happold Limited, Findlay Ross, Front Inc., George Keliris, Jill Fredrickson, John Henley, Karel Košek, Kostis Lysikatos, Marc Quiquerez, Marc Simmons, Mark Stroomer, Michael Keverne, Nagata Acoustics International, Inc., Neza Kravanja, Šárka Schneiderová, Systematica s.r.l., Theatre Project Consultants, Tiffanie Yamashita, Tomáš Hrádek
Culture, Civic amenities, Development area, Transformation area, Public space
Project start:
Project completion:
Total investment:
CZK 9,4 billion
IPR Praha, vltavskafilharmonie.cz, Bjarke Ingels Group A/S

Vizualizace architektonického návrhu – Bubenské nábřeží

Source: Pražská developerská společnost, příspěvková organizace

Vizualizace architektonického návrhu – Bubenské nábřeží, pochozí střecha filharmonie

Source: Pražská developerská společnost, příspěvková organizace

Vizualizace architektonického návrhu – interiér

Source: Pražská developerská společnost, příspěvková organizace

Vizualizace architektonického návrhu – hlavní koncertní sál

Source: Pražská developerská společnost, příspěvková organizace

Vizualizace architektonického návrhu – veřejný prostor před filharmonií

Source: Pražská developerská společnost, příspěvková organizace

Vizualizace architektonického návrhu – Bubenské nábřeží

Source: Pražská developerská společnost, příspěvková organizace

The location of the Vltava Philharmonic Hall alongside the river is a natural link to the historical location of other important landmarks in Prague along the Vltava, such as the National Theater and the Rudolfinum. However, the winning Vltava Philharmonic Hall project design does not only work with the building as such, but also brings imaginative solutions for public space to the Vltavská area. The music center, which will appear along the eastern boundary of the selected lot, will provide unique views of the river, Prague Castle and the Old Town. In addition to making the river bank accessible and creating a new square and park around the Philharmonic Hall, the building itself will also offer a "symphony" of colonnades and balconies that will serve as platforms for public life. This will pulsate from the river to the roof, from the inside out and from the outside in.

The Vltava Philharmonic Hall will be accessible from all directions and levels. The building has no rear side but consists of four front facades. The carefully selected functions of the building will attract visitors from all sides and at the same time guarantee an even distribution of activities. There will be a new urban park to the east of the building, the south side will open up access to the water, the west side will house a square and to the north there will be a view of the new Bubny-Zátory district.

The roof of the Vltava Philharmonic Hall will be a continuation of the public space of the square - the undulating stepped form will allow visitors to climb all the way to the top. New places for sitting, relaxing and meeting will be created on the individual balconies, providing panoramic views of Prague and any activities taking place on the square next to the building. From the roof space, it will also be possible to look into the Philharmonic building, which will be inviting to visitors through its openness. The highest peaks of the building reach 38 meters, or 20 meters lower than the height of the towers of the Church of St. Anthony on the nearby Strossmayer Square. The Philharmonic Hall will therefore not disturb the Prague skyline.

The winning team is Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), an architecture studio with offices in Copenhagen, London, New York, Barcelona and Shenzhen, and which employs more than 600 architects, designers, engineers and theorists working in architecture, urbanism, research and building development. Many designs by BIG, which was founded in Copenhagen in 2005 under the guidance of Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, are unique in their use of pioneering technologies and often stand out for their defiance of traditional conventions and dimensions, as in the case of Amager Bakke, a state-of-the-art waste incinerator in Copenhagen that doubles as a ski slope, the LEGO House in Billund, Denmark, which resembles the famous building bricks, and SFC Oceanix City, a man-made floating MIT ocean research center.

The studio's founder, Bjarke Ingels, emphasizes the sustainability of the buildings he designs, and bases them on extensive research. At the beginning of the process, he always carefully analyses many criteria, such as local culture and climate, the ever-changing patterns the modern lifestyle and the state of the global economy. TIME magazine ranked Bjarke Ingels among the 100 most influential people in the world in 2016. The Bjarke Ingels Group is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the German Sustainability Award, the Red Dot Award in the Architecture and Urban Design category, the Crown Prince of Denmark Culture Prize, and is a multiple finalist for the Mies van der Rohe Prize.

The Vltava Philharmonic Hall will serve as a modern cultural center. In addition to three concert halls with high quality acoustic conditions, visitors will find spaces for music education and practice, including the music department of the Prague City Library and its Creative Hub, a multi-functional space for rehearsals, recording and broadcasting, a rooftop restaurant and outdoor and indoor relaxation areas. The building will house two orchestras - the Czech Philharmonic and the Prague Symphony Orchestra FOK. Both groups will find superb residential space here. The building functions were carefully chosen to ensure the Vltava Philharmonic Hall will live both day and night and attract not only classical music lovers but also a wider range of people.

The Vltava Philharmonic Hall surroundings will also enable the holding of concerts and other events, while the building itself will be a social and community center where people will be able to meet, socialize and have fun, not only inside, but also on its roof or in the surrounding area. The Vltava Philharmonic Hall has been designed to allow barrier-free access to all areas for people with any disability.

For their design, the authors turned to the Šumava area, the sources of the Vltava River - this is where the wood that will be used to construct the building should come from. The wooden ceilings will permeate from the exterior to the interior, symbolically highlighting the theme of the Vltava Philharmonic Hall's openness to its surroundings. Emphasis will also be placed on the use of glass, another element typical for the Czech Republic, and which will dominate the building facade.

The core of the Vltava Philharmonic Hall will be a concert hall with 1,800 seats. As well as the main hall, the two side halls, a small one with 700 seats and an intimate black box configuration for up to 500 people, will all feature world-class technical equipment. The lighting, stage technology and visual and communication equipment in the halls will be fully compatible with all other parts of the complex.

The authors paid great attention to the issues of acoustics and vibration. To properly limit aural disturbance in acoustically sensitive areas, the halls are enclosed in two concrete shells that are structurally separated. This approach ensures acoustic separation from other parts of the buildings. In the halls, sound clarity is ensured not only through suitably chosen materials, but also by the relatively small distance between the stage and the audience. The layout of the auditorium in the shape of a vineyard will allow the audience in the main hall to experience visual and acoustic intimacy thanks to the spatial seating and differing balcony levels.

The stage floor in the small hall will be at the same height as the audience. It will be possible to disassemble part of it to facilitate format changes and encourage experimental art forms. The seats in the chamber hall can also be arranged in different formats, and the space can be divided into two halves thanks to a removable wall.

Today the Vltavská site is a busy, disorganized and very complicated place. It would be hard to find a more difficult task to solve through the competition. The area around the Holešovice railway station in the north and the Vltavská locality in the south are the only two places that form a connection between upper and lower Holešovice. This area has been seen as a potential part of the wider center of Prague for several generations. A type of public building that could fulfill its potential and become one of the city's landmarks has been sought for many years. The Vltava Philharmonic Hall, with its strong public significance, architectural quality and fundamental social importance, combined with the design of the surrounding public space, will help restore the territory’s dignity.

There are several height levels in the Vltavská area that do not work effectively either together or between them. They are more like barriers in their current form. Thanks to the design from the Danish BIG studio, the site will gain a multi-level harmonious public space that will connect the waterfront and all the other urban levels, offer inviting views of the city and integrate all traffic arteries. To maximize the space that can be used by the public, the Philharmonic Hall is located along the eastern side of the site and respects existing and potential pedestrian street lines. Similarly, the location of the building works with four different elements of public space - the street, the square, the park and the river.

The main challenge for the architects when designing the public space in the Vltavská locality was to seamlessly connect the Philharmonic Hall with the existing and future urban structure. The Vltava River and its movement through nature and the city also became an inspiration. Thanks to this type of thinking, the design allows the smooth movement of visitors without collisions and conflicts. The peaks of the Philharmonic Hall's accessible roof act as signposts and encourage diagonal movement across the square. The undulating stepped form allows visitors to climb to the top as if it were a hill. The roof space is a meeting place, providing a panoramic view of Prague and a glimpse into the Philharmonic Hall's concert halls. The continuous connection between the river, the waterfront, the street, the park, the square and the roof works by blending the surfaces appropriately to their functions. The very tip of the future central Bubny Park connects to the ecological corridor on the waterfront, flanked by the arches of the railway bridge and the adjacent skatepark area.

The location is already very well served by public transport. The expansion of the public space at Vltavská and making it accessible will offer an imaginary outdoor transfer platform for the metro, trams, buses, taxis, bicycles, ferry or train going directly to the airport. The existing tram line and the metro exit will be shifted north, i.e. closer to the newly planned railway station. The modification of vehicle traffic between the Negrelli Viaduct and Hlávkův Most bridge will be a fundamental change. The main traffic artery on Bubenské nábřeží and the exit from Hlávkův Most bridge are now located below ground level and are thus not in contact with the pedestrian zone - the public space and the Vltava Philharmonic Hall cover this traffic artery and pedestrians can thus get directly to the river and the embankment. The waterfront promenade will be easily accessible, fully connected to the Vltava Philharmonic Hall parterre, and will play a very important role for pedestrian and cycle traffic.