Philharmonie de Paris
Ministry of Culture & City of Paris
The new €386 m building for the Philharmonie de Paris has been in the city of Paris planning pipeline for 20 years. The 42,000 square metre facility includes one major 2,400 seat concert hall space, two medium sized rehearsal rooms, several smaller practice rooms, a foyer, cafe and library. It has been constructed at the 50 hectare cultural park at La Villette in north-east Paris.
Marshall Day Acoustics was engaged to provide the acoustical design of the auditorium, teamed with 2008 Pritzker Prize winning French Architect, Jean Nouvel. The design team was selected ahead of 97 international design teams in a two-stage competition.
The 40 page design brief included a long list of acoustic requirements, reflecting the fact that something very special was required for this building. The form of the building was specifically not allowed to follow conventional concert hall shapes in the form of a shoebox or vineyard - a completely new concept was demanded. The highly technical design brief included the requirement to provide 'high clarity with ample reverberation''; - two conventionally incompatible elements - though proven to be possible in 1973 in the Christchurch Town Hall.
Marshall Day Acoustics was highly influential in the design workshop that developed the 'Bi-cameral' solution to the brief.
The highly innovative design paves new ground in exceptional architecture and exceptional acoustics. The concert hall wraps the audience around the stage and features suspended balconies inside a larger volume, attached to the building by access passages, allowing sound to circulate completely around them.
Harold Marshall and Chris Day were directly involved in the conceptual design workshops and have continued on in the design process. Joanne Valentine and Thomas Scelo carried out extensive computer design and modelling for the project.
The project timeframe was tight for a project of this size and complexity, however the Philharmonie opened its doors January, 2015.
If the other 2,399 seats are as good as the one I was sitting in, I think that the Philharmonie could be one of the most dynamic and exciting places to hear orchestral music in the world.
'Hear Hear! New Halls Diverge in Acoustic Designs'
- Classical Voice North America, February 2017
'A Concert Hall in Paris Aims to Bridge Divides'
- New York Times, January 2015
La Philharmonie de Paris: is this a new musical and social future in Paris?
- The Guardian, January 2015
Ce soir nous sommes tous La Philharmonie
- Marshall Marcus's Blog, January 2015
Three years after the concert hall's completion, Sir Harold Marshall was interviewed by the team at Philharmonie de Paris. He reflects on the meeting of minds that took place between himself and Jean Nouvel, and the 'nuts and bolts' of creatng exceptional room acoustics. Read the full transcription.