Pierre Boulez Saal

Opening Year 2017
Location Berlin, Germany
Capacity 682 seats
Architect Gehry Partners, LLP
Richard Paulick (original building)
Owner Barenboim-Said Akademie
User Barenboim-Said Akademie
Boulez Ensemble
Construction Cost EUR 33.7M

The Pierre-Boulez-Saal is the insertion of a new function into an existing, historic structure – a scenery warehouse once serving the Berlin State Opera, thus the existing historic building has defined the overall available space for the room. The hall is intended to serve as the residence of the newly formed Pierre Boulez Ensemble, and also as a performance venue for chamber ensembles and recitals by the students of the Academy, as well as a rehearsal space for the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Overall, a space of approximately 25m square and 14m tall was available in the existing building for the performance hall, requiring a unique vision of a flexible layout in order to accommodate all of the necessary program.

In order to accommodate the 682 planned audience seats as well as the space for large orchestra rehearsal, a highly flexible seating layout was developed. Ensembles in the center of the room are surrounded by up to three rows of loose seats, and the four rows of fixed seats are on retractable risers. The risers completely surrounding the performance area are operable in different sections, allowing multiple performance layouts. It is the realization of Boulez’s Salle Modulable.

One of the many unique features of the hall is the floating, undulating balcony above the audience. The corners behind the balcony are open, and the structure of the balcony is perforated with many large holes along the entire perimeter. This allow the balcony to become almost acoustically “transparent”, thus allowing the full volume of the hall to work effectively.

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