A new Concert Hall for the rich artistic programme promoted by Pannonhalma Abbey
A new Concert Hall for the rich artistic programme promoted by Pannonhalma Abbey

After completing John Pawson's restoration of the Pannonhalma Archabbey, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Benedictine community has completed another project with Robert Gutowski Architects: the Concert Hall

International art events organised by the Hungarian monks and the need to strengthen pilgrim tourism have defined new needs in the community. A concert hall accessible to visitors has been under consideration for some time. With the delivery of a new basketball hall completed in 2014, the former school gymnasium was decommissioned. This space is closely linked to the main entrance of the Abbey buildings, and is also quite distinctive and has its own entrance; therefore, it seemed to be an ideal location for Robert Gutowski Architects' design of the new Concert Hall

A new Concert Hall for the rich artistic programme promoted by Pannonhalma Abbey

The space is suitable for holding small-scale chamber music concerts. The high ceiling required for this type of concert was created by modifying the former gymnasium. The optimal reverberation time of the space is mainly determined by the volume, shape and proportions of the hall. In addition, a decisive element for the excellent sound of the hall is the high diffusivity of the space, which is provided by the uniquely designed ash wood panelling. The constant supply of sound energy is also supported by a wrapped beech ceiling, the wooden slat design covering the walls, by the optimisation of the reflective, diffusing and sound-absorbing surfaces, and by the carefully designed seating

A new Concert Hall for the rich artistic programme promoted by Pannonhalma Abbey

The single-level composition of the stage was thus created to provide a harmonious acoustic environment for the performers. The floors are made of oak. Technical facilities, professional lighting, audio and audio-visual systems, and a digital cinema add further opportunities to use the hall, and the air-conditioned environment in summer as well as the 268 unique seats all provide adequate comfort. An additional 132 seats were built on the gallery around the stage

A new Concert Hall for the rich artistic programme promoted by Pannonhalma Abbey

The designers from the team of Robert Gutowski Architects paid particular attention to combining the Concert Hall with the existing buildings. Sophisticated and detailed wood panelling creates friendly and sympathetic spaces; natural and non-natural light plays an important role, filtered by louvres on the south-facing walls. The medieval wall fragment found during the deepening of the hall is visible through a floor-to-ceiling window

A new Concert Hall for the rich artistic programme promoted by Pannonhalma Abbey

The Concert Hall, previously used as a table tennis room and as a gym room, acquires a new meaning: it becomes the elegant vanguard of the new function. The school is planning to create an exhibition space on the hall gallery, and the former gymnasium showers will function as instrumental training rooms, backstage, and a studio forming a unit with the new cultural function. After the handover in late spring 2016, students and guests of the school as well as the audience and musicians of the contemporary music festival Arcus Temporum were delighted to take possession of the new hall

A new Concert Hall for the rich artistic programme promoted by Pannonhalma Abbey

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