Completed in April 2011, the Music Centre is situated in a pivotal city location facing the Parliament House and the Kiasma Art Museum. Once completed, the surrounding Töölönlahti Park will provide a setting for cultural activities and become a new nucleus for the city.
Besides providing concert halls and rehearsal spaces for the Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, the Music Centre also houses the Sibelius-Academy. The unique combination of the music university, two orchestras, state-of-art concert halls and a central location provides excellent possibilites for music-lovers, musicians, music students and city-dwellers to meet and interact.
The massing and main materials form three distinct bodies. Taller sections clad in green copper connect with the green park belt. The glazed foyer reveals the interiors and activities of the building and aesthetically links it with the newer neighbouring buildings. The square in front of the Parliament House continues as a sloped, landscaped deck, linking the upper and lower squares and parks and leaving room for the architecture of Kiasma. Located under the sloped deck, the third body of the building consists of five smaller concert halls and a restaurant.
One aim was to achieve a sense of openness. The heart of the building, the vineyard-formed main concert hall is surrounded by a glazed foyer, to which it visually connects via sound-insulating glass walls. The foyer, with its high glazed façades, also functions as café and exhibition space.
In addition to the main concert hall ( 1700 seats), the Music Centre houses five smaller concert halls (140 to 300 seats each). The acoustic properties have been designed for the specific functions of each hall. The ground floor houses musicians’ rooms. Administrative areas are located above the main foyer.
Classrooms and offices for the Sibelius Academy are grouped on seven floors around an inner courtyard opening out towards Karamzin Park. The two lowest floors house studios and a public music library.
The materials of the Music Centre have symbolic as well as technical functions. The green copper connects to the green park belt. During the detail design phase the architects worked closely with Luvata in developing softer façade treatments, reflecting the project’s ‘a mezza voce’ contextual approach.
Forms experimented with included abstract free-form and rectangular cut-outs. Finally, vertical patterns defined by press-formed circular dimples and pierced circles were selected, adding rhythm and life to the surfaces when seen from different viewpoints and in different sunlight conditions. The panels were patinated green to give character to the Centre and to emphasize its location.