By their nature, cultural centers must serve a variety of purposes. But chief among them is to promote a sense of wonder and welcome for its visitors. In the Tirolean capital of Innsbruck, this goal was accomplished with the newly completed “Haus der Musik”.
For centuries, Tirol’s capital was at the heart of European culture. The latest addition to the town’s cultural offer is the brand-new House of Music. Work on the ‘large black building’ began in 2015 and the new cultural center opened its doors to the public in October 2018. The subtle 6,350-square-meter building occupies a prominent downtown site overlooking historic buildings at Innsbruck’s Old Town District. The contemporary building houses a variety of cultural institutions and provides creative space for concerts, theater performances and education programs under one roof.
Between Folklore, Jazz and Classical Music
Managing director Wolfgang Laubichler is driven by the desire to broaden, deepen and diversify participation among audiences and artists. His aim is to develop multi-faceted programming that crosses boundaries between Jazz and classical music, opens up new geographic spaces and depicts folklore in the best sense of the word. “The House of Music has the task and the chance of being an opportunity center—for thinking outside the box and for making unusual and out-of-the-ordinary things happen,” says Laubichler.
An international architectural competition to identify the best design proposals for the new building was launched and architects from all over Europe were invited. The proposal by Tirol-based architect Erich Strolz and Untertrifaller Architects from Vorarlberg was the winning entry among 126 projects which applied for the competition. Prior to completion, the new building has been attracting some critical comments. Some call it an architectural masterpiece that blends perfectly into the historical surroundings while others complain about the dark color. “The new structure maintains a sensitive and respectful relationship with neighboring, historical buildings,” says architect Much Untertrifaller.
The façade is clad with dark, vertically structured ceramic panels. Specifically developed for the House of Music, the panels are partly fixed and partly movable. The façade changes its color from black over eggplant-colored to a reddish brown during the day as the sun is shining from a different angle. Behind the distinctive façade, the glass surfaces of the building reflect the surrounding historical buildings and the forecourt. The stimulating play between transparent and closed, between light and dark continues inside the building that lures visitors to explore and experience its spaces. High ceilings, warm and friendly materials and natural daylight impart a feeling of loftiness and openness in every room, from the concert halls over the library to the on-site restaurant. One thing for sure: Much of what people like and dislike about architecture is a matter of taste, rather like it is the case with arts – there is no argument in favor or against a style except the emotion a person experiences when contacting their philosophy.
Photo Credits: Günther Egger