Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investments

Akademia Muzyczna im. Karola Szymanowskiego w Katowicach, Katowice, Poland

Exemplary design categories: community use and involvement, cultural and historical value, music and theatre facilities

How the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
This music academy was founded in 1929. Located on a small campus, its main building is a beautiful 1870s neo-Gothic structure. The academy’s new extension opened in 2008, and it has allowed the institution to expand its artistic and educational activities. Sensitively blending with the existing buildings, the new extension comprises two main volumes of a similar height to the existing buildings. Their reddish-brown façades match the brickwork of the 1870s building. The extension houses a concert hall, a library and reading room, a sound laboratory, a music therapy room and a computer suite as well as additional lecture rooms. The centrepiece of the development is the new state-of-the-art concert hall. This has a 480-person capacity, with a stage that can accommodate 190 singers and musicians. It has separate entrances for artists and audiences, which allow the hall to be easily accessed and to be used independently without disturbing other activities. The hall’s design creates good acoustics for a wide range of music. It is wrapped in a double layer, with the two skins enclosing a reverberation space. Adjustable panels in the ceiling of the hall can open up this space, and this allows the natural reverberation time in the auditorium to be altered to suit the type of music being performed. Between the concert hall and the academy’s main building, a new longitudinal block has been added to accommodate further teaching rooms and offices. This block also houses the academy’s new library, which has study areas for 70 readers. An atrium connects the new block with the main building, enclosing a foyer and a small indoor garden. Outside, the extension has been aligned to create a sheltered courtyard between the concert hall and the building housing the rector’s office. Many of the new facilities are open to the wider community. Students and academics from other music schools and higher education institutions can use the concert hall and the new library. Modern music therapy is offered for children with special needs, particularly those with hearing difficulties. Regular artistic and scientific events are held in the new buildings. Around 300 free concerts are now held every year in the hall.

Activity Areas: main building, Atrium, library and teaching space, concert hall, backstage area and studio

Project costs: PLN 59,000,000.00

Source: "Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011"

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ground floor plan (Registration required)
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