Building the Hall

Friendship and Innovation

© Majchrzak

The conception and construction of the Pierre Boulez Saal was inspired not only by the artistic and humanitarian ideals behind it, but also by a strong sense of companionship and common purpose. Frank Gehry incorporated Daniel Barenboim’s impulses into his design with an expertise and openness that the artists share. The initial, almost intuitive sketch of ovals Gehry presented to Barenboim left a strong impression on the musician, and he encouraged the architect to pursue his original idea to create a completely non-traditional concert hall. Though at first skeptical, Gehry succeeded brilliantly in implementing his exceptional design, eventually realizing that, “Sometimes artists recognize something in other artists in ways that we don’t really understand.”

Sometimes artists recognize something in other artists

in ways that we don’t really understand.

Frank Gehry

A Hall for Berlin and for the World

Acclaimed acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota—who together with Frank Gehry had previously built Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and is also responsible for the acoustics of Hamburg’s Elbphilhamonie—created the hall’s unique sound profile. His close collaboration with Gehry resulted in one of the world’s most unusual and extraordinary concert halls, situated in the historic center of Berlin. Both men provided their expertise and knowledge pro bono, as a generous gift to the hall. The historic building, designated as a landmark, was fitted with a modern and innovative interior. With a total floor space of 70,000 square feet, it houses the Pierre Boulez Saal as well as the Barenboim-Said Akademie with its more than 20 rehearsal and seminar rooms, an auditorium, and a library.

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