House for Music and Music Theatre of the University for Art in Graz (KUG)
After many years, the university has its own building for music, which is designed not only for teaching and practice, but for live concerts as well. Outwardly, the new music theatre is a modest, compact structure enclosed entirely in glass and stainless-steel mesh. The reflection of daylight prevents views into the building. When the structure is illuminated at night, however, its internal life is revealed and becomes part of the public space. On arrival, visitors are confronted with a striking staircase that winds up through the three-storey foyer in a sweeping curve, allowing glimpses of the individual floors. The staircase – cast in self-compacting concrete pumped from the base upwards – forms the structural spine of the hall area. Its design, including the cage of reinforcing steel, posed a great challenge. The formwork to the exposed surfaces was cut from extruded polystyrene. Rehearsal and practice rooms are situated at the rear of the house and on the upper levels. The heart of the building is the first-floor concert hall, which provides space for an audience of 450 and which is equipped with advanced technology. At the press of a button, the flat rows of seating can be reconfigured to form an arena-like auditorium. The sound conditions can also be varied electronically to meet many different needs. The wall surfaces are clad with raking acoustic panels. The entrance area can be reorganized to accommodate cloakroom and box-office facilities.