Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Parco della Musica

The Parco della Musica is an auditorium complex designed by Renzo Piano. And it is cool.

It was the first of many stops on our architectural walking tour in Rome. Marina, our guide is an architect herself and masterfully articulated Piano's endeavor. She explained that Piano worked with sound engineers to design the auditoriums so acoustics are completely evident in all facets of the building. For example, the auditorium walls feature no parallel surfaces inside to ensure the quality of sound. Likewise the structures are limited in scale to avoid undesirable echoes.

The complex is broken into 3 auditoriums of varying size with an outdoor amphitheater in the middle. The buildings are all encased in a lead shell that both contains sound within and muffles outdoor noise. This protects them acoustically from each other as well. The lead has been washed in acid to finish the surface and prevent it from leaching into the ground with rainfall.

It is unfortunate that photography is not permitted inside the auditoriums as the interior space is really something to behold. The largest has great wooden panels that seem to swell out of the ceiling. It's a circular space with wood lining the walls and rows of smart red seats. The union between the warm golden wood and the red velvet seats makes the space seem luxurious and comfortable at the same time. The interior delivers all the grandness due a national auditorium but with a surprising quality of intimacy. I attribute it to the placement of the seats, which are sort of cozy around the stage. The acoustics are guaranteed but even in the back rows there seems to be a good view. I was completely taken with the space and have put hearing a concert there on my lifelong wish list.

Marina also noted that the locals who were initially quite skeptical of the "beetles" have since really taken to the space and looked forward to its events. Well worth a walk through and look up Marina at ARTCULT if you can.

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