Unique facility for musical performances is designed as a "playable" structure.

The panels of La Métaphone were selected for their acoustical as well as structu
The panels of La Métaphone were selected for their acoustical as well as structural and aesthetic features. All images: Herault Arnold Architectes
December 06, 2013

La Métaphone, a concert hall in Ognies, France, is a 1,980-sm facility with the unique characteristic of being a structural musical instrument. The solar-powered building incorporates musical elements in its walls, which can be played by musicians inside or outside the facility. Architect Isabel Herault, of Herault Arnold Architectes, has referred to the building as an "urban musical instrument."

The central music hall is a fairly traditional black box, wrapped in a skin of glass, steel, and wood. A rooftop lattice supports integrated photovoltaic cells. Instrumental elements include both mechanical and electroacoustic systems, which were prototyped with the eight-module musical facade illustrated in this video:


Instruments are mounted on plates in the building's exterior framing system, and sound is magnified by vibrating bowls that create a loudspeaker effect. The facility's wall panels also have acoustical properties that make them "playable," potentially allowing composers to create works incorporating the entire building.




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