New Concert Hall - A world-class design architecture for Ostrava

4/7 2019

The City of Ostrava announced one of the most important architectural competitions in its history last August. The winner of the combined two-round international architectural and urbanistic competition for concert hall was selected almost a year after the competition announcement. The winner selected by jury made up of renowned experts is Steven Holl Architects + Architecture Acts studio based in New York.

New Concert Hall -  A world-class design architecture for Ostrava

The results were discussed by the city council by which the order of proposals was approved. A contract for the preparation of project documentation will be concluded with the winner.  The costs of the project implementation at Ostrava Cultural Centre (Dům kultury města Ostravy) are estimated at 1.5 billion CZK excluding VAT. The construction is to be commenced in 2022.

“It is a splendid message for Ostrava that the author of the winning proposal is Steven Holl Architects plus Architecture Acts studio by which success in a number of top world-class projects was achieved. It is the U.S. studio that presented the best connection of the existing Ostrava Cultural Centre building with the new concert hall. The winning concept offers not only an original architecture but also a very interesting, albeit demanding, design featuring environmental friendliness and long-term sustainability and leading to low operation costs,” said Ostrava Mayor Tomáš Macura. “The building of new concert hall will strengthen Ostrava’s position of cultural centre and rank the city among significant metropolises proud of their concert halls. Those with top architecture and acoustics are always not only impulse for development of local culture and education but also a magnet for development of tourism. The last full- fledged concert hall (Rudolfinum in Prague) was built in our country at the end of the 19th century. I believe our hall will be attracting interest by its architecture, acoustics and programme for at least the same time,” added Tomáš Macura.

The proposals were assessed by the competition jury made up of renowned architects, invited experts and city officials on 1 and 2 July.

The jury chairman, internationally renowned architect Krzysztof Ingarden, commented the selection of winner as follows:

„Why did we choose this proposal? It was simply the best one. It is a fantastic piece of architecture considering very well the relationship of the old building with the new building, the relationship between the city of Ostrava and the park behind the existing building. I believe the winning project will be an emblematic piece of architecture for Ostrava revitalizing the city as well.”

 Three architectonic offices experienced in concert hall designing (Steven Holl Architects + Architecture Acts, Konior Studio and Henning Larsen Architects) were invited by the City of Ostrava to participate in the competition. In October 2018, they were joined by another three contestants: Architecture Studio (Paris), Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos (Berlin) and Van Dongen – Koschuch Architects and Planners (Amsterdam) selected following the recommendation by the competition jury from 31 applicants based on their references and portfolios. The maximum number of participants in the two-round competition was limited to six. Four proposals advanced to round two; Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos (Berlin) and Van Dongen – Koschuch Architects and Planners (Amsterdam) studios were not among them.

“We will hold an exhibition of all the four designs from round two in September. We want to enter into a contract with the author of the winning design not later than in autumn. And all project documentation stages should be completed by the end of 2021. The is to be followed by the construction commencement in 2022 and the new concert hall and refurbished Ostrava Cultural Centre building opening ceremony is scheduled for 2024. The design is very well elaborated as early as in the architectonic competition stage,” added Zuzana Bajgarová, Deputy Mayor for Investments who was a jury member.

 The jury was composed of architects Krzysztof Ingarden (Ingarden&Ewy/ Cracow), Rafi Segal (RSAU/ Princeton// MIT Architecture/ Cambridge), Valerie Mulvin (Mccullough Mulvin Architects/ Dublin) and Jakub Szczęsny (SZCZ/ Warsaw), alternate jurors Adam Rujbr (Adam Rujbr Architects/ Brno) and Tadeáš Goryzcka (Kabinet architektury/ Ostrava) and invited experts Michal Zezula - National Heritage Institute director, Martin Strakoš - National Heritage Institute Ostrava office art historian, Jindřich Jansa - budget expert, Cyril Vltavský - Head of Chief Architect Dept. of Ostrava City Council, Jan Žemla - Janáček Philharmonic director, Martin Vondrášek acoustic experts and Jan Košulič - sound designer and operation specialist. The city council was represented in the jury by Mayor Tomáš Macura, Mayor Deputy Zbyněk Pražák and Mayor Deputy Zuzana Bajgarová.

A special-purpose fund was set up for financing of the preparation and implementation of this cost‑intensive project. 250 million CZK was transferred to it from the city budget and this sum will increase. On the basis of a Memorandum of Cooperation signed in 2018 the Czech government represented by the Ministry of Culture undertook to support the project by 600 million CZK and the Moravian-Silesian Region will contribute 300 million CZK.

For decades, Ostrava has dreamt of building a concert hall with perfect acoustics, sufficient space for the audience and facilities for Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra. The Ostrava Cultural Centre building constructed between 1956 and 1961 in the spirit of modern clasicism has not been adequately serving this purpose and has been facing a lack of proper use and involvement in the city’s cultural life for many years.

 The City of Ostrava announced an architectonic competition or an intention to hold an architectonic competition in eight cases in the last three years. The biggest competition in the recent history of the city is represented by the one for the concert hall construction.