On the Great Stage
Approximately one year ago, the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg opened its doors for the first time. With the advent of this new landmark on the River Elbe in North Germany, one registers an increase in the general esteem for stage structures. Nowadays their cultural significance is no longer called in question; it is appreciated instead. In the public perception, buildings of this kind everywhere have assumed a status that was formerly reserved for museums.
In the March issue of Detail, we present concepts for auditoriums and open-air theatres, congress centres and large opera houses. The one thing they all have in common, of course, is a stage – sometimes larger, sometimes smaller and sometimes even variable in size. The examples we include here, from Swabia to North Jutland, from Canada and China, allow a comparison of typological aspects; for example, questions of access and circulation and the layout of the individual halls. In the two longer “Process” contributions, which describe the Music Forum in Bochum and the Auditorium and Congress Centre in Plasencia, Spain, we investigate concrete issues involving the acoustics and planning.
Stage structures are public places where people gather and feel at home. In Bochum, Bez+Kock Architects have succeeded in reactivating a 19th-century neo-Gothic church for this purpose. And in the Extremadura in Spain, a new auditorium by José Selgas and Lucía Cano has caught the attention of the public for the first time in this context in a remote location where such an audience did not previously exist. These, too, are aspects with which we have been keenly concerned in the editorial team.