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Conferences and exhibitions are big business, as such auditoriums and presentation spaces have quickly become a medium in which vast resources are invested. Gone are the days of simple bleachers with plastic seats. Architects around the world are constantly re envisioning the auditorium, design them with such originality that many have become local landmarks. With the launch of the Kip Island Auditorium architecture competition, participants are tasked with presenting solutions that stray from the conventional auditorium layout.
These are some of the world’s most inventive and unique presentation spaces, the one of a kind auditoriums that incorporate exceptional architectural design.
The Oscar Niemeyer Auditorium in Ravello is set within a natural slope on the Amalfi Coast. At 365 metres above sea level it offers visitors an incredible view of the Divine coastline below. Though known as the “City of Music”, seating capacity in the city’s other major concert and performance venues was often limited to about 100. When designing the auditorium, Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer looked to the architectural elements of the city, which has medieval and Roman roots and feature plenty of arched windows, columns and arches. The contrast the auditorium creates on the skyline is part of its appeal. It represents a cornerstone in aesthetic and cultural modernization of the countryside, proposing salient and characterizing points with its curved line and its predominant white color.
The Oscar Niemeyer Auditorium creates a striking contrast to both it’s natural and architectural surroundings. Image source
"It's not the perfect angle that attracts me, and not even the straight, hard, inflexible man-made one. What really attracts me is the free and sensual curve. The curve that represents the meeting of the mountains of my homeland, the figure of a beautiful woman, the clouds of the sky and the waves of the sea. The same curves which create the Universe. The curved Universe of Einstein. " (Oscar Niemeyer)
While most auditoriums usually need to be large in order to accommodate tiered seating, this concert hall in Blaibach, Germany takes a different approach. Created as part of town centre’s redevelopment, the entire Konzerthaus Blaibach building slopes down towards the front of the performance space.
The auditorium’s exterior looks simple and unassuming, with just a large rectangular building jutting out from the ground in the centre of the town; making it seem as if the rest of the building has been buried into the ground at one end. The exposed end rises above the ground, and the slight gap reveals the entrance to the public spaces housed below.
The Konzerthaus Blaibach building is angled downwards instead of laid flat, burrowing into the ground to create a unique, underground performance space. (Photo: Edward Beierle)
After entering through gap into the foyer, guests can then access the main auditorium, which is a large expanse in the pre-cast concrete from which the building is made. The room tapers towards the performance area, sharpening the focus on the performers and acting to optimise the space’s acoustics.
The Konzerthaus Blaibach when empty (Photo: Edward Beierle)
Designed by Spanish architect Óscar Pedrós, this library in Galicia features an auditorium which juts out from the side of the building. The architect was commissioned by the town of Carballo, Galicia, to create a library that would also be an attraction for the community. Replacing the previous library that had fallen out of public use, this library was built to the edges of an irregular-shaped plot. This maximised the use of space and allowed it to feature a cantilevered auditorium on a southwest corner.
The cantilevered auditorium of Oscar Pedros’ library in Galicia. Image source
The protruding end of the auditorium also acts to provide cover and enhance the acoustics of an outdoors space beneath it, in effect creating a second auditorium for outdoor events.
Second outdoor auditorium created in the shade of the overhanging internal one. Image source
The Riga Exhibition Centre is one of the largest in the northern region of Eastern Europe and is situated in Kipsala, also known as Kip Island, which is located at the heart of the Latvian capital. The Exhibition Centre currently houses two large exhibition halls, conference rooms and meeting rooms, and has recently announced plans to further expand its facilities.
The Riga Expo Centre is looking for an iconic addition to its already well-established complex, and as such will be considering all winning designs in the Kip Island Auditorium architecture competition. For the additions to their building, the Riga Expo Centre are looking to house an auditorium, additional conference rooms, as well as a new exhibition hall.
Participants are asked to a solution that is not just a conventional auditorium, but a versatile venue that can be rearranged and merged to create smaller or larger spaces. The Riga Expo Centre have committed to consider all winning designs for construction, and the winning designs will be exhibited within the Expo Centre itself in the Spring of 2017.