A Supporting Structure of Lightweight Concrete: Concert Hall in Blaibach
The concert hall in Blaibach, which is the heart of the various urban-planning projects aimed at revitalizing the centre of the village, seems to jut from the newly designed village square like a monolith that has fallen from the sky. To the trained eye, only the vertical seams between the façade elements reveal the tectonic controls, while the granite surface is a reminder of the village’s tradition of stone carving. The tilted cube asserts itself as a logical response to both the sloping situation of the building site and the structure’s function as a concert hall.
Inside, the slopping floor of the closed box holds the rows of seats in the auditorium; outside, it covers a correspondingly wide stairway that leads from the village square to the area beneath the cube. This is home to the foyer with its ancillary spaces, which offers ground-level access to the rear garden. Visitors are guided around the auditorium, past the cloakroom and bar, and finally into the hall itself.
The atmosphere of the concert hall is characterized by the horizontal bands of exposed concrete that line the walls and ceiling. The grain of the concrete runs through several of the fold-like features, thus accentuating the feeling of the space having been moulded in one piece. Covered LED strips on the underside of the tilted concrete surfaces bathe them in ambient light.
Quite apart from its sculptural quality, the complex design of the interior space is above all the result of a precise calculation of acoustics. In the folds of the walls and the floor construction of the hall, bass traps have been hidden beside the lighting strips; the porous surface of the lightweight concrete has an absorptive effect on the middle range of frequencies. Along with reinforcements and cables, ventilation ducts have been installed in the sloping floor plate. This leaves just enough space to reinforce the iron arms that allow the delicate gridwork of the chairs to apparently float above the ground.
Blaibach Community Centre
Beside the concert hall, an old farmhouse acts as a mediator between tradition and modern: the building known as Christl Haus has been expanded and transformed into a community centre. The original form has, for the most part, been preserved, a task facilitated by the environmentally friendly materials used in the existing construction. For instance, the granite cellar, the unfired clay brick walls with their excellent storage capacity, and the wooden roof continue to form the core of the new structure.
The covering and the addition consist of aggregated foam-glass concrete. This material not only has physical benefits, it also carries the advantage of being one of the few substances that are truly recyclable. The light-grey roof shingles are particularly innovative: they are produced in an environmentally friendly way, while the titanium dioxide in the cement works as a catalyst to break down air pollutants.