Kyoto Concert Hall
1991 - 1995
Site Area: 9,900 sqmBuilding Area: 5,380 sqmTotal Floor Area: 22,442 sqm
Official Web Site
One of the conditions of the limited competition for the Kyoto Concert Hall was that the 1,800-seat large hall be of the shoebox type. All participants had to accept that condition. My winning entry was therefore premised on a hall of the shoebox type. The two halls in Kyoto both have a shoebox-type outline, but I tried destroying the symmetry in the areas inside that outline. In the large hall, the balconies on the right and left do not match, and the pipe organ has been taken apart and then reassembled as layers of differently shaped units. In addition to the eccentric layout, the seats that double as a performance platform for trumpets are assembled in a random manner.
The interior of the large hall is finished in white oak; the lights in the chandelier on the ceiling are dispersed like stars in a galaxy. A fairly large group of seats for the chorus has been created behind the stage and can be also used as additional seats for the audience.
The flat ceiling surface emphasizes the fact that the hall is of the shoebox type, but there is another, hidden reason for this feature. In this district of Kyoto, there is a 20-meter height limit on buildings. An additional five to seven meters of height would have been ideal from an acoustical standpoint. By manipulating the structure and the floor level, it was possible to accommodate the large hall within the prescribed building envelope. The problem, however, was the smaller hall, which has a cafe and an entrance hall located below it. The smaller hall is a hexagonal plan inserted in a conical drum. The 20-meter height limit meant the interior volume of the hall could not be as large as it should be. After considering a number of measures to overcome this problem, we came upon the unconventional idea of tilting out the walls of the hall. Sound is reflected off the walls onto the ceiling. The combination of direct sounds and secondary, reflected sounds produces excellent acoustics.