Philharmonie Paris

The Philharmonie de Paris, music amidst metal birds

Although opened only a year ago, the Philharmonie de Paris designed by renowned architect Jean Nouvel, has already been the subject of many news items, and not only due to the quality of its architecture. Nouvel disowned the building, consisting of bird-shaped metal panels, due to numerous problems and the fact that he considered it too incomplete to be inaugurated.

Cost overruns, delays and dead stops were some of the problems encountered during construction and others that led to it being opened before time. Delays in building work meant that in January 2015, the opening could be put off no longer; musicians had already been booked to play and tickets had been sold.

Nouvel argued that ‘the concert hall didn’t undergo any acoustic assessments and architectural and technical requirements were not observed due to time constraints […] despite my many warnings since 2013’.

The building covers 94,000 square metres, of which only 21,000 correspond to its useful area, that is, little more than 20%. Part of this area is the roof, which is open to the public.

The most easily identifiable part of the building, the facade, comprises 340,000 tiles depicting birds, in seven different forms and four colours from pale grey to black. In addition to this part, the building is surrounded by metal panels and an access platform that stretches as far as the esplanade at Porte de Pantin.

Along with its novel exterior, the inside, which holds 2,400 people, leaves nobody unmoved. Consisting of segments that appear to float over the hall, the seating can be rearranged depending on the type of concert given. Despite its size, the atmosphere in the hall is intimate, with the distance between the furthest member of the audience and the conductor a mere 32 metres.

Photo by Forgemind ArchiMedia

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