Concert halls are extremely particular spaces. Parameters such as reverberation time, sound transmission or sound absorption have to be phased as physically measurable quantities in such a way that the hall itself becomes an instrument on which the musicians play. For the design, there are two fundamental approaches: the “shoebox” and the “vineyard.” The first of these is the solution taken from feudalism, in which a rectangular hall extends between the stage and the prince’s lodge. The other was an invention of the Berlin architect Hans Scharoun for a more democratic experience of art, where the orchestra, which is placed in the middle, is surrounded by rows of seats for the public that rise upwards. Through his design of the Berlin Philharmonie in the 1960s, he created an alternative standard.
Therefore, there is a fundamental decision at the beginning. And yet, despite this strict regimentation, the new construction of a musical building is regarded as the supreme discipline of modern architecture. Hardly a great name from the world league of artist architects has not attempted it: Renzo Piano, Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, Frank O. Gehry or Jean Nouvel. The three most sought-after acousticians, Yasuhisa Toyota, Martijn Vercammen and Jürgen Reinhold regularly work with these very architects.
The documentary film “Of Vineyards and Shoeboxes” accompanies the sound architects in various projects currently underway, shedding light upon the most important stages on how concert hall is developed: from the planning stages to the model, from the construction site to the opening ceremony. In between, there are surprising excursions into the world of acoustics. For the first time, the complex vocational profile is presented in an entertaining and comprehensible manner. Through the different, partly opposing philosophies of the acousticians and a skillful parallel montage of the three storylines, a fascinating history of concert hall acoustics is told. A film about those who cross the borders between physics and art, who lead the way into the fascinating world of sound with passion, enthusiasm and a fine sense of humor.
|Directed by:||Günter Atteln|
|Produced by:||Paul Smaczny|
|A production of:||Accentus Music|
|Picture Credit:||Michael Boomers|