Casa da Música

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Casa da Música
Casa Da Musica (3190746009).jpg
The distinct polygon of the Casa da Música concert hall
General information
LocationCedofeita, Santo Ildefonso, Sé, Miragaia, São Nicolau e Vitória
Country Portugal
Coordinates41°9′31″N 8°37′51″W / 41.15861°N 8.63083°W / 41.15861; -8.63083Coordinates: 41°9′31″N 8°37′51″W / 41.15861°N 8.63083°W / 41.15861; -8.63083
OwnerCâmara Municipal do Porto
Technical details
MaterialJordian marble
Design and construction
ArchitectRem Koolhaas

Designed to mark the festive year of 2001, in which the city of Porto was designated European Capital of Culture, Casa da Música is the first building in Portugal aimed from its conception to be exclusively dedicated to music, either in public performances, or in the field of artistic training and creation.

Casa da Música's project was set in motion in 1999, as a result of an international architecture tender won by the project presented by Rem Koolhaas - Office for Metropolitan Architecture. Excavations began in 1999, at the old tram's terminus station in Boavista roundabout (Rotunda da Boavista), and Casa da Musica was inaugurated in the spring of 2005, on April 15th.


A view of the location along the Avenida da Boavista and neighbourhood of the same name
Casa da Música on opening day (14 April 2005)

On 1 September 1998, the Ministro da Cultura (Ministry of Culture) announced the construction of Casa da Música, during the ambit of Porto's 2001 presence as the European Capital of Culture.[1]

The building engineers were AFA Arup Group Limited (London) together with Afassociados (Porto),[1] it was designed by Dutch architect was Rem Koolhaas, in association with the Porto Office of Metropolitan Architecture, the scene agency Ducks scéno, the acoustician Renz Van Luxemburg and AFA, while the interiors were designed by Inside Outside (Petra Blaisse), that included the large 13 surfaces, ranging from 22 by 15 metres (72 ft × 49 ft) to 65 by 8 metres (213 ft × 26 ft) (with a gold leaf wood grain pattern in the large auditorium).[1]

Its location was decided on 8 March 1999, on a municipal tract of Boavista, where construction began;[1] the site was once a former staging area for trams.[1] Construction occurred in the next four years over schedule, and cost 100 million Euros, a process that challenged engineers, due to its unusual configuration.[1]

It was open to the public on 14 April 2005, with performances by Clã and Lou Reed, while the official inauguration occurred the next day, with the presence of the Portuguese President, Prime Minister, other notable politicians and members of Portuense society, with the concert by the Orquestra Nacional do Porto (Porto National Orchestra),[1][2] it immediately became a city icon. Featuring a 1300-seat auditorium suffused with daylight, it is the only concert hall in the world with two walls made entirely of glass.[3]

On 5 November 2005, an administrative process was open to classify the building as Imóvel de Interesse Público (Property of Public Interest), defined as "urgent" by the administration.[1]

The building's design was acclaimed worldwide. Nicolai Ouroussoff, architecture critic from the New York Times, classified it as the "most attractive project the architect Rem Koolhaas has ever built" and indicated that it's "a building whose intellectual ardor is matched by its sensual beauty", he also compared it to the "exuberant design" in Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. "Only looking into the original aspect of the building, this is one of the most important concert halls built in the last 100 years". He compares it to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, in Los Angeles, and the Berliner Philharmonie.[4]

A foundation, the Fundação Casa da Música, was instituted on 26 January 2006 under decree 16/2006.[1] But, in reference to its classification the process was archived on 15 March 2011.[1]

In September 2008, the Casa da Música hosted the Orquestra Nacional do Porto, which took part in explorative public presentations, where performed music was captured alongside musician's and conductor's expressive gestures. Various sensor networks sourced and translated musical expressions into computer driven visual interpretations (that included lighting, projected images, and real-time improvisations) for the audience to experience added nuance of performance.[5] Scientific articles are also published on special needs performances/workshops in Casa da Música 2007[6] & 2008.[7]


The reception hall
One of the distinct interior views of the main auditorium
The azulejo walls on the VIP hall
The interactive computer room in Casa da Música

The building is shaped as a nine-floor-high asymmetrical polyhedron covered in plaques of white cement, cut by large undulated or plane glass windows;[1] the building is accessible through a front stairway and stands at the center of a vast open plaza of yellow marble, with hint of brown.[1] Its isolated architectural form, deeply set back from adjacent streets, including main Avenida da Boavista, and from the city's prime ceremonial public space Praça Mouzinho de Albuquerque, is evocative of the hull of a ship beached at low tide. It deliberately ignores and challenges the neoclassical order of converging avenues and the vast oval of continuous blocks centered on a tall monument to the Heroes of the Peninsular War that has defined the Praça.


<p><button class="accordion">Sala Suggia</button></p>
<div class="panel">
<p>Regarded as the heart of the Casa da Musica, Sala Suggia &ndash; so named as an homage to Guillermina Suggia, Porto's native cellist and a world exponent for this instrument during the first half of the twentieth century - serves as anchor to the whole building, allowing the main routes to develop around it.</p>
<p><button class="accordion">Sala 2</button></p>
<div class="panel">
<p>It is the second largest concert hall of Casa da Música. Designed as a multipurpose space, it is ideal for any type of event, its phenomenal acoustics is based on the coating of walls and ceilings, in perforated plywood, which was not painted conventionally with spray or brush but dipped in red paint, which gives it a very natural tone with slight nuances..</p>
<p><button class="accordion">Cibermúsica</button></p>
<div class="panel">
<p>Originally designed to harbor the Educational Service, more specifically the Digitopia and all of its technological devices, Cibermusic was instead adapted to new and varied functions.</p>
<p><button class="accordion">Renaissance Room</button></p>
<div class="panel">
<p>The Renaissance Room is first and foremost a waypoint that liaises two essential spaces in Casa da Música: Cybermusic and theWest Foyer West. It was designed and built to be a bar of Casa da Música, which would operate whenever required by the number and circulation of public, particularly in events with simultaneous concerts.</p>
<p><button class="accordion">Purple Room</button></p>
<div class="panel">
<p>Created alongside the Orange Room, the Purple Room meets similarly the intent to support the programming of the Educational Service, in particular the A Música Toma Conta de Mim (The Music Takes Care of Me) project, that welcomes 3 to 10 year old children and involves discovery sessions and musical creation while the adults responsible for them enjoy a concert.</p>
<div class="panel">



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Filipe, Ana; Ferreira, João; Filipe, Ana (2011), SIPA (ed.), Casa da Música (IPA.00021031/PT011312040305) (in Portuguese), Lisbon, Portugal: SIPA – Sistema de Informação para o Património Arquitectónico, retrieved 14 April 2017
  2. ^ Simas, Richard, Casa Da Música Builds A Home For Experimental Music, Musicworks, retrieved 22 November 2015
  3. ^ Sudjic, Deyan (10 April 2005). "We got rid of the shoe box". The Guardian.
  4. ^ Ouroussoff, Nicolai (25 December 2005), "A Vision of a Mobile Society Rolls Off the Assembly Line", New York Times
  5. ^
  6. ^ Archived 22 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^


  • Fernandes, Fátima; Cannatã, Michele (2002), Guia da Arquitectura Moderna (in Portuguese), Porto, Portugal
  • Wigley, Mark; Koolhaas, Rem (2008). Casa da Musica. Porto: Fundação Casa da Música. ISBN 9789892010106.

External links[edit]