Tarptautinis konkursas / International competition / 2019
We teamed up with specialists in various fields to create a unique and considered response to the new national concert hall competition brief, offering the city a new cultural hub and a place to celebrate music. The original building on Tauras Hill was premised on the idea of a ‘national house’. We added a nuance to the idea of nationhood and created a space whose identity is expansive, rooted in history while looking forward to dynamic cultural exchange. The architecture of this public building prioritises shifting experiences rather than establishing a monolithic identity or concept. In developing this design we have considered the ways in which sound can itself become the means through which architecture and space are created. We have frozen music, to paraphrase Goethe’s famous conception of architecture, not to deaden it but to sustain it, while providing the spatial conditions for more music and more sounds to be felt. We teamed up with Nitin Lachhani whose work transforms transient and ephemeral phenomena into specific material expressions. We chose of fragment of sound by one of Lithuania’s most acclaimed composers, Bronius Kutavičius, and froze it to transform it into a 3 dimensional shape. The shape was then used to create the mass and ceiling of the building. Seen from the bottom of the hill, the concert hall appears to levitate as a light cloud; but once inside and beneath the undulating shapes of the frozen sound waves, the visitor can sense the weight of the building and, in turn, be able to think of sound as something that is both intangible and substantially felt. To further complement this experience, the soundwave ceiling reaches down at various points to the floor, providing not only structural support, but also enabling the visitor to touch the waves themselves. This physical experience of sound is additionally enhanced by the materials used - cast concrete for the ceiling, rough-hewn granite for the floor - each of which reflect sound in different ways to create an acoustically complex space. To further highlight our approach to music as a synthesis of the aural, the visual and the tactile, the shape of the floor tiles that circle out from the touch-points of the ceiling visually underscore sound as something that is generated by points of touch.