You won’t find many squares in Zaha Hadid Architect’s fluid urban design concept for a new Beethoven Festival Hall in Bonn, Germany. In designing the building, the aim is to link the city of Bonn to the Rhine River promenade and in the process, create a dynamic riverside environment for the public to enjoy.
Learning from the missed opportunities during the planning of the existing building in the 1950’s, the proposal intensifies the connection by introducing a transparent “Rhine Foyer” into the building mass; a dramatic atrium that stretches from the City to the Rhine. With two main façades, the building presents itself in an open and inviting manner to the River and the City, allowing for deep visual links through its crystalline mass. The light Rhine Foyer will make audiences and performers feel comfortable and relaxed but simultaneously excited by the anticipation of a unique experience.
Site circulation can take place uninterrupted through various levels inside and around the building. Artificial landscape formations lead from inside the building to terraced outdoor areas, interweaving the elevated foyer levels with surrounding exterior plateaus. The stepped topography on the Rhine invites Bonn residents and visitors to informally enjoy outdoor performances. The main public route is a large diagonal passage, an ‘erosion’, running from the city through the Rhine Foyer and down a large exterior staircase to the river promenade. The promenade is sliced into curvilinear seating that gently step down to the Rhine, facing a seasonal floating performance area on the water’s edge. Illumination from within the foyer, embedded in the ground, and floating in the water will change the character of the site and building during evening performances. The building becomes a performer itself.