Helsinki Music Centre

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Customer: the State of Finland, the City of Helsinki and Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE
Location: Mannerheimintie 13, Helsinki ››
Completed: 2000–11
Area: 38 500 m2

LPR Architects won the Helsinki Music Centre’s two-phase international architecture competition in 1999-2000 for its submission “a mezza voce.” Further challenging planning began in 2000, construction work at Töölönlahti Bay began in 2006 and the grand opening was held in August 2011. The main users of the building, located in a demanding, central cityscape area, are the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra (HKO), the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra (RSO) and the Sibelius Academy of the University of Arts Helsinki. The owners of the Helsinki Music Centre real estate corporation are the State of Finland, the City of Helsinki and Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE. All planning as well as architectural and technical solutions were driven by the requirement for the highest possible quality acoustics.

The core of the Music Centre is the concert hall, vineyard-like in shape, whose ring-like foyer and lobby are utilised as café and exhibition spaces. In addition to the concert hall, under its slanted green roof the building houses six smaller, acoustically different concert halls suitable for an audience of 140-400.

The customer’s goal was a music centre that was as open and easily approachable as possible. Between the main entrances located on various levels, an open public accessway was created for the audience. The lobby’s glass wall structure opens onto the Kiasma museum, central library and Sanomatalo building, linking the Music Centre to the area’s new architecture. In the summer, the restaurant expands out into the lower plaza, as well.

The Sibelius Academy’s teaching, office, library and studio areas are located around the seven-storey-high central space, which opens onto a view of Karamzin Park.

The Music Centre’s materials have not only a visual but also a symbolic function. The primary interior materials are solid wood varnished with a dark colour, CNC-perforated MDF board, powder coated stainless steel and aluminium, natural stone, epoxy floors and fibre glass cladding. Colours are used to accent space. Façade materials are glass, natural stone and pre-patinated copper elements. The glass wall structure, suspended and reinforced with glass plates and steel rods, is technologically progressive.

LPR Architects also designed the award-winning Aicon concert hall seat (link to Aicon presentation page) for the Music Centre.

All material selections and technical solutions were based on the requirement for top-quality acoustics. Acoustics were designed by Yasuhisa Toyota, one of the world’s leading acousticians.

A competition was also organised for artwork at the Music Centre. Kirsi Kaulanen’s stainless steel sculpture Gaia crowns the main entrance lobby. In the lower plaza, Reijo Hukkanen’s Laulupuut sculpture forms a figurative contrast with the Music Centre’s straight-lined form.

The Music Centre is a central part of the capital’s active, modern cityscape. As a meeting place for music and culture, music consumers, music students and musicians, the Music Centre offers its visitors a variety of experiences.

The Helsinki Music Centre won the Senate Properties Anniversary Year Construction Project Award.

www.musiikkitalo.fi