Upon Casa da Música we have neither a distant look neither the author’s look. We have the accomplice look of someone who participated in this adventure as local architects. That is why we do not justify or legitimate the project, but rather seek to read between the lines of its materialization process.
With the outer appearance of a monumental concrete monolith, on the inside Casa da Música is a world of discoveries, filled with spaces reminiscent of the etchings of Piranesi, complex geometries and continually dynamic perspectives. The treatment of surfaces draws on the tension between the pronounced neutrality of the circulation areas and the plastic force of the materials employed in the special-purpose areas. Accordingly, the circulation areas emerge as a necessarily severe and abstract substructure – aluminium-covered walls, ceilings and floors – which underscores the diversity of the remaining materials.
The sub-contracting of the metalwork – a demanding task both in terms of design and of implementation – developed into a fruitful relationship between us, the architects, and the contractors. Even before the contract was awarded, Jofebar’s ambition, responsive attitude and technical ability meant the company was able to put forward constructive solutions, economically optimised and compatible with our plans. This dialogue continued during execution in the form of preparatory drawings and our own comments, in successive revisions undertaken until productivity, compatibility with other work, solidity and quality of the fittings were all assured.
Upon viewing the result, visitors often ask whether the fittings are catalogue items or custom made. In fact, they are made from processed industrial materials. But it was the intensity of the design and implementation stages which conferred on them the machine-like quality of exhaustively tested and improved serial production, combined with the singular accuracy of considered and refined artisanal execution. This is the happy ambivalence we were aiming for.
Jorge Carvalho, architect
aNC arquitectos, local project studio
Location Porto, Portugal
Client Porto 2001, Casa da Música
Architecture OMA Office for Metropolitan Architecture
Authors Rem Koolhaas, Ellen van Loon
Team (Competition) Uwe Herlyn, Fernando Romero, Isabel da Silva, Barbara Wolff
Team (Post-competition) Rita Amado, Alois Baptista, Christina Beaumont, Catarina Canas, André Cardoso, Robert Choeff, Paulo Costa, Thomas Duda, Chris van Duijn, Adrianne Fisher, Govert Gerritsen, Stephan Griek, Michelle Howard, Ana Jacinto, Alex de Jong, Krystyan Keck, Philip Koenen, Eduarda Lima, Anna Little, Fabienne Louyot, Christian von der Muelde, Peter Müller, Shadi Rahbaran, Nuno Rosado, João Prates Ruivo, Christoff Scholl, Isabel da Silva, Saskia Simon, Barbara Wolff
Local architect aNC Arquitectos
Structure Arup / AFAssociados Lda
Services Arup / AFAssociados Lda / RGA
Fire, Façade Arup
Code Consultancy OHM-E / Gerisco
Acoustics TNO Eindhoven / DHV
Interiors, Curtains Inside Outside
Scenography dUCKS scéno
Façade VS-A / ABT
Auditorium chairs Maarten van Severen
Furniture Daciano da Costa