Dresden concert hall to open at heart of city's new-look 'Culture Palace'

The conversion and refurbishment of the Kulturpalast Dresden involved no less than a rethink of the architectural concept of a ‘culture palace’
– von Gerkan, Marg and Partners

A new concert hall will open within the ‘Cultural Palace’ of Dresden, Germany on Friday (28 April).

Architecture studio von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp) won an international competition to refurbish and renovate the Kulturpalast, a listed historic monument, in 2009.

The 1,800-capacity, multipurpose concert venue suts at the heart of the building, and has been re-developed in a way that is neither secondary to the existing style elements nor deliberately contrasting, “but rather aims for a respectful and charged dialogue with the existing building fabric.”

The design follows the ‘vineyard’ model, with seating surrounding the stage and rising up in serried hexagonal rows. The white waves of the hall’s walls slowly move from the regular geometry of the layout until they join up at the ceiling of the hall.

A concert organ with 55 registers dominates the space and will be used by the Dresden Philharmonic Orchestra. The architects collaborated with acoustics engineers and the orchestra to “meet all requirements for concert uses, from the reverberation time to the acoustic space impression and the clear communication between the musicians themselves.”

“With this new Kulturpalast concept, Dresden has now – for the first time – been given not only a concert hall of international standing, but also an open venue of culture and knowledge, and a place of informal civic encounters and communication which continues the lively tradition of the building,” said gmp in a statement.

In addition to the new concert hall, the practice have also designed a new 5,463sq m central library and cabaret hall within the building. Meanwhile, the structure’s exterior has largely been restored to its original design dating from 1969, while the spatial organisation and circulation were redefined to provide direct access from three main facades.

“The conversion and refurbishment of the Kulturpalast Dresden involved no less than a rethink of the architectural concept of a ‘culture palace’, with a modified user programme but nevertheless based on the historic identity of the venue,” gmp said.

“The combination of culture, education, and entertainment, which will ensure that the venue is much frequented by quite different user groups, has its spatial focal point in the large foyer facing south towards the Altmarkt. This will now be the main access point to all three main functions and will thus become a very busy and lively place for the city.”

Dresden  Germany  architecture  design  gmp 
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A new concert hall will open within the ‘Cultural Palace’ of Dresden, Germany on Friday (28 April). Architecture studio von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp) won an international competition to refurbish and renovate the Kulturpalast, a listed historic monument, in 2009. The 1,800-capacity, multipurpose concert venue suts at the heart of the building, and has been re-developed in a way that is neither secondary to the existing style elements nor
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Architecture studio von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp) won an international competition for the project in 2009 / Christian Gahl
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