The House of Music (Portuguese: Casa da Música) is a Portuguese concert hall in civil parish of Cedofeita, Santo Ildefonso, Sé, Miragaia, São Nicolau e Vitória, in the municipality of Porto, in northern Portugal. It houses the cultural institution Fundação Casa da Música, and three orchestras: Orquestra Nacional do Porto (Porto National Orchestra), Orquestra Barroca (Baroque Orchestra) and Remix Ensemble.
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.
The building engineers were AFA Arup Group Limited (London) together with Afassociados (Porto). 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).
Its location was fixed on 8 March 1999, on a municipal tract of Boavista, where construction began. The site was once a former staging area for trams. Construction occurred in the next four years over schedule, and cost 100 million Euros, a process that challenged engineers, due to its unusual configuration.
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). 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.
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.
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.
A foundation, the Fundação Casa da Música, was instituted on 26 January 2006 under decree 16/2006. But, in reference to its classification the process was archived on 15 March 2011.
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. Scientific articles are also published on special needs performances/workshops in Casa da Música 2007 & 2008.
The building is located in an isolate position, implanted on an ample paved square, situated between two principal axises at the traffic circle of Boavista, a confluence of various roads and avenues. It is delimited in the east by the Praça Mouzinho de Albuquerque (within the Boavista traffic circle), a large forested greenspace, with the monument dedicated to the Heroes of the Peninsular War (at its centre); to the north, by Rua 5 de Outubro; to the south, by the Avenida da Boavista; and, in the west, by Rua Ofélia Diogo da Costa.
The architecturally-innovative building is formally-configured around an asymmetrical polyhedron that extends over nine floors. The building is covered in plaques of white cement, cut by large undulated or plane glass windows. The principal entrance is oriented to Avenida da Boavista, preceded by staircase, its exterior encircled by yellow marble pavement with a hint of brown, conferring a accentuated dimension and beauty, a distinct feature of its neighbourhood.
More infos: http://www.casadamusica.com/en/