The congress and conference centre near Krakow’s historical centre is a major new-build development. It comprises a 1,800-seat concert hall, a 500-seat theatre, a studio theatre and various ancillary break-out spaces.
Ramboll provided acoustic consultancy to architects Ingarden and Ewy. A part of the multidisciplinary design team, we were appointed as adviser to the contractor during the construction.
The brief was to design a modern, world-class building that would achieve the highest acoustic and stage mechanics standards whilst accommodating for conferences, exhibitions and other cultural and social events that require varying acoustic conditions.
The challenge for the main concert hall was to design a space with excellent acoustics for the vast and complex sounds of symphonic music that would also allow for the variation of acoustic behaviour (eg reducing reverberance to assist with the acoustic clarity of the spoken word in the same area). We realised acoustic variability by using drop-down acoustic banners often deployed for congresses. Our team designed an acoustically optimised reflector array that was installed above the stage area to improve clarity/feedback for orchestral performers. Diffusive wall finishes were incorporated throughout the auditorium to scatter incident sound, helping to distribute it evenly over the seating area and prevent unwanted specular reflections.
Ramboll was also responsible for the design of the impressive second theatre hall. Its folding seats allow the floor area to be increased when used for banquets or exhibitions. The hall is of conventional form with a full height fly tower, and two levels in front of a proscenium for the audience. In addition, drop-down banners have been fitted to vary the acoustics for various performances, such as opera and other musical events as well as dramatic performances.
The multifunctional foyer meanwhile can be adapted for shows such as exhibitions. Acoustic treatment has been applied to the ceilings in the form of rows of suspended acoustic panels to control reverberant noise levels and create a high quality feel to the space. This attention to detail is critical in providing the level of flexibility required for the multifunctional exhibition and conference space.
The concert hall opened in 2014. Feedback from the general public and music professionals has been extremely positive and the new centre is rapidly gaining a reputation as the best of its kind in Poland.