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Filharmonia Szczecińska

The European Union's architectural award, given by the Mies van der Rohe Foundation, went earlier this week to the Filharmonia Szczecińska, the symphonic hall in the Polish city of Szczecin (shown above), created by the Italo-Spanish firm Barozzi Veiga. Covered in glass that is all white and translucent, it has the look of an ice cathedral or, as it struck me the first time, Superman's Fortress of Solitude. Jean-Jacques Larrochelle has a report on the hall (Le prix Mies van der Rohe attribué à la Filharmonia Szczecinska, May 9) for Le Monde (my translation):

The building, completed in 2014 after three years of construction, offers 13,000 square meters of functional space. It includes a 1,000-seat concert hall, a hall for chamber music that seats 200, a multipurpose space used for exhibits and conferences, and a large entry hall. Its cost: 30 million euros.

Built at the intersection of the historical site of the Konzerthaus, an old neighborhood bombed during the Second World War, then renconstructed, the Filharmonia Szczecinska is made up of vertical façades capped with pointed gables. Built up against the headquarters of the Wojewodzka police, made of brick and stone, it generously faces out on green spaces. The architects Barozzi and Veiga wanted to give it "a luminous element." The glass façade, illuminated from the inside by a stiff grill, offers a broad range of color scenarios that play with the architecture, especially at night. During the day, as shown in photographs, the contrast is just as striking between the stark whiteness of the new building and the lackluster environment that surrounds it.
Larrochelle also points that, although singular, the building does not stand out from its surrounding in other ways: its height is in keeping with its surroundings, for example. The architects even speak about its austerity, at least on the outside, because the interior is more colorful and varied.

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