Herault Arnod Architectes have reached a new architectural highnote with their Metaphase Concert Hall. In fact, the exceptional building, which showcases music performances on the inside, is actually an interactive instrument in its own right. Located in Oignies, France, the music hall is an intelligent construction that uses unique materials chosen for their acoustic properties to filter music through the building's open porch.
To create the sound-related and instrumental features of the building, the architects consulted musician and sound designer Louis Dandrel. The majority of the Metaphone building (the technical spaces and auditorium) are contained within a volume of black concrete. This base structure is covered with a steel envelope scaled with different materials such as frosted glass, corten steel and wood. This translucent skin protrudes out of the main concrete structure into an open air porch that disseminates music outwards to the front of the building. Various materials make up the different instrumental elements whose acoustic properties produce distinct musical sounds. Vibrating plates and panels connected to the outer shell use a series of cables to connect to the central control cabin. Even the photovoltaic panels on the roof share space with integrated instrumental acoustic elements that help project sound.
According to the architects, “There are two principles of sound production: mechanical or electroacoustical, with vibrating bowls mounted on the plates to form loudspeaker membranes (this technique is commonly used in the car industry). These systems have been developed and tested by making a prototype of the musical façade, composed of 8 modules measuring 1.2m, half fitted with an acoustic instrument, the other half with vibrating plates.”
Certainly a music lover’s dream, the Metaphone Music Hall takes dedication to music to a whole new level by combining musical forms with interactive architecture. Along with enough space for an audience of 500 to 1,000 in the modular auditorium found on the inside, the open porch offers ample space for a large orchestra. The building’s particular sounds can be used to collaborate with the chosen musical compositions of the orchestra and can also signal the beginning of a concert or performance intervals. The Métaphone administration has plans to invite international musicians to create and compose works using the building’s distinct acoustic nature.