Porto’s Casa da Musica Tour – City’s Architectural Pride

From afar the ramp entrance to the museum gives it the aura of a UFO

 

Last year Porto’s Casa da Musica concert hall was the most heavily visited site in the city.  

 

Ricardo Vasconcelos, our tour guide

 

That count doesn’t include the many thousands who came to hear music in its halls—that is simply the count of tourists who came for a tour of Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas’ oeuvre. 

 

It is cool. 

 

A view from above and inside of the plaza below surrounding the museum. Yes-- there were skateboarders on its rolling surface

 

The entranceway, while different, doesn't begin to tell you how unique the space is

 

The box morph exterior isn’t the big plus-- it’s the feeling you get inside of infinitely cut angles as you move from hall to hall and ponder its unique fusion of form and function.

 

The white irregular box of Casa da Musica is prominent in the Porto landscape. Photo courtesy of Casa da Musica

 

Aluminum stairway you see looking up from the entrance foyer

 

The entrance foyer from above

 

The trapezoidal lines in stairways and halls interest

 

One of its auditoriums can seat 1238 people; a smaller one has a 300 person capacity.  With the foyers open on clubbing nights, the crowd swells to 3000. 

 

Many of the perimeter rooms have window walls too

 

The Dutch architect included this traditional Moorish tile pattern that you see elsewhere in the country. Here it is the backdrop to gamelins you are able to play

 

Some of these rooms picked up colors from the landscape outside

 

As you tour you walk on see-through floors and watch live rehearsals that curved thick glass insulates and keeps you from hearing --or more accurately, keeps the performers from hearing you.  

 

Looking through a curved glass insulating wall to a performance below

 

The curved glass walls also have a structural integrity function

 

Another unique privacy screen

 

Purple trapezoid spaces calm, an orange romper room gives children a place to both burn off energy and also create music by their body interacting with the room. 

 

The orange music-making childrens' retreat

 

The musical programming accommodates all tastes and ages—from low-cost family concerts to baroque music, to choral, symphonic, hip-hop raves or new music launches.   We were struck by how affordable ticket prices are—e.g. a noon-time family concert was only 7.5 Euros.

 

The blue and white traditional Portuguese tiles you see all over Lisbon and Porto are in this most modern building too

 

Although our schedule didn’t allow us to go to even one concert, a re-think of our itinerary would have us returning to this iconic space every evening we are in Porto to hear the night’s musical offering or be part of the happy scene. 

 

The concert halls have large window walls-- that are sometimes left uncovered during performances.. Photo courtesy of Casa da Musica

 

and sometimes covered and used for projections. Photo courtesy of Casa da Musica

 

The large concert hall can also accommodate a large performance area. Photo courtesy of Casa da Musica

 

Restaurant. Photo courtesy of Casa da Musica

 

For information on tours and tickets to concert performances visit the Casa da Musica website.

 

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Photos:  Peter Kachergis, unless otherwise indicated

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