Zénith concert halls have been a major feature of French cultural life over the last twenty-five years, and these state-sponsored venues for rock concerts, political gatherings, and other cultural events. Bernard Tschumi Architects designed this latest Zénith Concert Hall built in Limoges.
Past Zénith concert halls have seen the work of major architects
including Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, Massimiliano Fuksas, and
Tschumi, whose previous award-winning Zénith in the city of Rouen
employed a similar double-envelope with completely different materials
for an urban site.
Tschumi talked about bringing the same concept he
utilized in Rouen into a new context: “If, as we have suggested,
architecture is the materialization of a concept, what if the concept
remains the same, but the material changes? We decided to explore the
implications of such a transformation with a new variation on a
familiar program. »
The structure is designed to accommodate 6,000 spectators comfortably with configurations for as few as 600 or as many 8,000. Instead of a proscenium, Bernard Tschumi conceived of a stage free of all structural members, with a performance space approximately 260 feet wide by 130 feet deep. Lighting is provided through five balloons which also act as signage for the site.
Tschumi’s design for the project incorporates two distinct acoustical envelopes: an outer polycarbonate skin that filters light and defines the circulation spaces and an inner wooden envelope that provides an intimate setting for concerts and events. This concept responds to the dramatic site, a clearing in a large forest at the edge of the city, surrounded by trees more than 200 years old.
Tschumi developed the design with sustainable materials and energy conservation in mind, as he explains: “Much of the material treatment is determined by energy conservation and sustainability considerations. The 5-cm-thick semi-rigid polycarbonate sheeting, with its multiple inner layers of cells, provides excellent insulation value.
The highest portion of the facade has a pixelated design silk-screened directly on the shell for additional solar protection. Natural ventilation is integrated into the concept, so that the climate of the foyer can be kept at a temperate level, with little additional heating required. ».
The architecture takes advantage of the local timber industry and using renewable materials for the acoustical envelope of the concert space: “The use of wood was suggested by the location of the hall, in a clearing within a large forest surrounded by trees over 200 years old.
The region also has an active timber industry. In addition, the soft translucency of the polycarbonate complemented the wooden frame by allowing light to filter in and out of the building. The strategy establishes reciprocity between concept and context.. » Additionally, the outer skin composed of polycarbonate and a wooden frame allows for natural light and ventilation.
Seven acres of parking for 1,500 cars is entirely covered with grass and trees, thanks to a technique developed by the landscape architect Michel Desvigne.
The project team for the Zénith Concert Hall in Limoges has been led by Bernard Tschumi and BTuA partner Veronique Descharrières. The design and construction team also includes the local architectural office Atelier 4, Scène for the stage design, Technip TPS for engineering, and CIAL for acoustics.
Photographs are courtesy of Christian Richter and Peter Mauss/ESTO as indicated.
Projects Description and Credit:
Client: Community of Limoges, Limoges Métropole, Alain Rodet - President
Architect: Bernard Tschumi Architects (Design/Executive Architects). Partners-in-charge Bernard Tschumi, Véronique Descharrières. Project Architects Jean Jacques Hubert, Antoine Santiard, Joël Rutten. Team Architects Anne Save de Beaurecueil, Chong-Zi Chen, Nicolas Cazeli, Mathieu Göetz, Lara Herro, Robert Holton, Sarrah Khan, Joong Sub Kim , Alan Kusov, Dominic Leong, Michaela Metcalf, Alex Reid, Vincent Prunier et Sylviane Brossard.
Site Architect ArchitectAtelier 4
Research office Technip TPS with Jaillet & Rouby and Naterrer Bois Consult
Staging Consultant Scène
Landscape Architect Michel Desvigne avec Sol Paysage
Facade Advisor Hugh Dutton Associates
HQE Engineer Michel Raoust
Graphics and Signage Benoît Santiard
Inauguration Date March 8th, 2007
Total Budget 36.6 million U.S.D.
Site Area: 15 acres (6ha)
Building Dimensions: 300 feet (90 m) in diameter
Height: 72 feet (22 meters)
Levels: 3 stories of backstage area
1500-vehicles-capacity parking surface 10 acres (4ha)
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