The challenge of the Koningin Elisabethzaal was to address a blend of functional, infrastructural, symbolic and sensory requirements within the architectural discipline in an integrated approach where cultural and technical mandates are brought into a strategic confluence. Our proposal for the renovation, redesign and transformation of the Queen Elisabeth Hall complex takes advantage of the urban and thematic opportunities that the proximity of the Queen Elisabeth Hall to the Antwerp Zoo offered. The main lobby is reorganized to serve as an important hinge-point between the Concert Hall, other historic halls, museums, and the Zoo. Moreover, its forms are figurative, drawing their geometric logic from a simple vaulting system, while adopting an organic formal bias that fosters readings between zoomorphic lineaments and musical curvatures. To improve its acoustic performance, we treat the interior of the Concert Hall with a striated wood surface which bounces and breaks up sound in the hall. We have taken moments before, after, and between performances as an opportunity to provide a sensory device— scribed within the wooden striations of the wall paneling, we propose digitally-routed contours that render outlines of zoomorphic creatures, visible from certain perspectives, while abstract illusory figures from others, thus transforming Queen Elisabeth Hall into a Cabinet of Curiosities of sorts.

Location: Antwerp, Belgium