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Public competition for the preliminary design of the Simon Bolivar International Complex

Public competition for the preliminary design of the Simon Bolivar International Complex

Caracas, Venezuela

Public competition for the preliminary design of the Simon Bolivar International Music Complex

ADJKM as Architects


● 3 modular concert halls of 1700, 1300 and 500 seats. One of which is adjustable up to receive 400 musicians. ● Music conservatory: Rehearsal rooms, classrooms. ● Restaurant and cafeteria, musicians’ residencies, multimedia center, administrative offices, outdoor amphitheaters. ● Parking

The contest was organized by The FESNOJIV, a government-funded organization aimed at systematizing music education and promoting the collective practice of music through symphony orchestras and chorus as a means of social organization and communitarian development, and the CAF (Andean Development Corporation) a financial institution that supports sustainable development and regional integration in Latin America. Results were published in July 2010. The proposals were evaluated by an international jury composed of José Antonio Abreu, director of the FESNOJIV, Yasuhisa Toyota, Japanese acoustician, Iñaki Abalos, Spanish architect, Anita de la Rosa, landscape architect, Lorenzo González Casas, urban planner architect, Eduardo Guzmán, representing the Libertador Town Hall and Omar Seijas, vice-president of the Colegio de Arquitectos de Venezuela. Substitute members of the jury were: Pedro Franco, architect and Paola Posani, representing the Libertador Town Hall.

The Program The FESNOJIV is internationally recognized as a unique and distinguished program based on the social characteristics of musical training, thus contributing to the development of potential future for the children of Venezuela and Latin America. By promoting cultural development, the Foundation raises the hope of social and professional integration. The contest, jointly organized by CAF and FESNOJIV, consists in the projection of the International Complex for Social Action through Music Simón Bolívar. This symphonic complex will complement the existing complex located in the Amador Bendayán Boulevard, along the northern boundary of Los Caobos Park, in the cultural center of Caracas. The CIASMSB consists of two units: a music conservatory and the concert halls. The conservatory includes classrooms, large rehearsal rooms and individual rehearsal cubicles. The modular concert halls consist of a first hall of 1700 seats (+200 chorus) and another hall of 1300 seats (+400 chorus). A third room with 500 seats shares functions between concerts and rehearsals. The remaining program includes administration, musicians’ residencies, restaurant and cafeteria, multimedia center, and parking areas. The total constructed area is over 36000m ².

The Project The objective is to create an urban space as a social bond in a dense cultural program. This “fragment gap” divides the building into two units by means of a horizontal fracture that opens the view on the Los Caobos Park and incorporates the notion of landscape to the project. It is a meeting place for visitors and users. This space connects the music conservatory, a compact block anchored to the ground, and the concert hall, a light block suspended as a precious levitated object over the park.

The global shape leans on the symbol of the tree in growth : « the musical knowledge starts at the root of the project and the creative genesis arises at the top through the talent of musicians » The overall organization of the project is by horizontal layers In the basement (-22.50 to -12.60), three levels of parking are reserved for users of the complex different programs. The pedestrian entrance to CIASMSB is common for users and visitors, to better monitor the safety of the building. The project is organized at the atrium (00.00) around a central core of distribution. Viewers have access to concert halls escalators through the central axis of the building; musicians access to the conservatory through the "children" pole on one side and the “juvenile” pole on the other side.

At the lower level (-12.60 to 5.65), four stages are used to distribute the music conservatory, with links between the different poles of education. The intermediate zone (5.65 to 15.60) is a vast place, a place of confluence for artists and the public. It includes restaurants and cafeteria, multimedia center, public spaces, musicians’ residencies, improvised concert stages... At the top level (15.60 to 38.00), three levels are used to distribute the concert halls, as well as the foyers, located north for the musicians with a view of the Avila Mountain, and south for visitors with a view to Los Caobos Park. The roof is a technical level, including a single grid for the common management of both concert halls.

The concert hall is an instrument of communication. Closeness between audience and musicians is the main idea of the project. For this reason, the shape of the halls is a hybrid between the "Shoebox" and "Vineyard", where good visibility and the finest acoustics are obtained. The shapes of the rooms have been especially designed to create dynamic forms in the Venezuelan artisanal creations.

The three concert halls (1700 -1300 - 500 seats) are treated differently to obtain multiple acoustics and to respond to the specificity of different orchestras. The large concert hall of 1700 seats has an international vocation, it can respond to a program with numerous modular spaces in special events. The concert hall of 1300 seats favors singers and sets the scene in the heart of the room. The seats of the choir can be attributed to the spectators. The flows are organized according to three types of users: musicians / technicians / audience. Area limits dissociates the professional and the public space. The quality of logistics is determined by a simple and rigorous organization.

The structure consists of a concrete foundation works (the music conservatory) in which are fixed-end eight pillars in mixed composition of concrete and steel. These pillars support the concert halls and include their emergency exits. The spans are distants of twenty meters around. The windbracing is held by steel tie-rods which create the kinetic rhythm of the facade. The building is subjected to local anti-seismic constraints. Raw Materials are used in the outside while rehearsal rooms and the concert halls are made of concrete and wood.

The lighting project is applied to the gap between the academy and concert halls. Between day and night, the contrast ratios "full / empty", "shadows / lights" are reversed.

Acoustics: Khale Acoustics. Scenography: Ducks Sceno. Structure: AEO Proyectos (Andrés Otero). Concert Hall Images: Rodolphe Rodier, RSI Studio (Gael Nys). Contributors: José Castillo, Gabriel Castro, Nicolas Delevaux, Yuan Jiang, Gilles Lefevre, Sophie Merle, Panovi Núñez, Jorge Núñez, Javier Otero, Gregoire Plasson, Bertrand Reunaudin, Paulo Rezende.

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