360 Degrees: Salle Modulable

Endless Possibilities

© Volker Kreidler

A MODULAR CONCEPT

“One day, after we gave it to him, he sat in front of the model and just stared into it for hours,” Frank Gehry recalls Pierre Boulez’s reaction to his first impression of the hall that was to bear his name. Boulez’s enthusiasm was fueled by the seemingly endless possibilities offered by this flexible space. Thanks to its unique architectural shape, the seating and stage areas can be set up in many different configurations. The idea of a “Salle modulable,” or modular hall, distinguishes the Pierre Boulez Saal from other venues and gives it a special place within Berlin’s musical landscape.

WEIGHTLESS ELLIPSES

A simple oval-shaped sketch by Frank Gehry provided the inspiration for the space, which offers a stage with a 360-degree sweep. The audience’s proximity to the musical action is an essential ingredient: no listener is more than a few meters away from the artists. Every audience member can directly experience the energy that is released when music is made. The two artfully interlocking ellipses of the parterre and balcony create an impression of awe-inspiring weightlessness.

AN INTIMATE SETTING

The hall seats up to 682 visitors, with the spatial configuration adapted from concert to concert according to the number of musicians and the repertoire being performed. Each vantage point offers a different take on a concert, and the artists are equally enabled to constantly discover new perspectives. The Pierre Boulez Saal’s intimate dimensions make it the perfect space for solo recitals and chamber ensembles, but it can also comfortably accomodate a medium-sized orchestra. The concept of intimacy highlights the idea of unity and inspires creativity and concentration in everyone who enters the hall—whether listener or performer.

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