An oval defines the Frank Gehry-designed Pierre Boulez Saal concert hall

The hall hosted its debut concert on Saturday, March 4 with a performance by the Boulez Ensemble.

March 06, 2017 |

Image © Volker Kreidler

It may not be as flashy as the Walt Disney Concert Hall Frank Gehry designed in Los Angeles, but the recently opened Pierre Boulez Saal concert hall in Berlin still brings a unique aesthetic and experience to the 682 listeners that can attend a concert there.

The design of the Pierre Boulez Saal eliminates the stage found in most concert halls, separating the musicians from the audience, and instead, employs the use of an oval to create one connected community. The oval allows for a much more intimate experience. It also allows the music to reverberate for slightly longer, says Daniel Barenboim in a New York Times interview, which leads to a more enjoyable experience for the listeners.

The original idea for the oval space came from an initial sketch Gehry showed to Barenboim. Barenboim loved the idea for a non-traditional concert hall and encouraged Gehry to pursue this design, according to the Pierre Boulez Saal’s official website.

Yasuhisa Toyota, a globally acclaimed acoustician, worked with Gehry to create the acoustics of the hall. Gehry and Toyota both donated their work as a gift in appreciation of what the project represented.

The Pierre Boulez Saal resides in the Barenboim-Said Akademie building, nestled into the cultural and historical center of Berlin. In addition to the revamped Pierre Boulez Saal, the building renovation adds 21 rehearsal rooms, an auditorium, a library, offices, and other ancillary space to fill the 6,500 sm.

On Saturday, March 4, the concert hall officially opened its doors for the first time to host four-hour concert by the Boulez Ensemble.

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