Renzo Piano's Flat-Pack Auditorium aids disaster recovery in Aquila
February 21, 2013
In April 2009, the historic Italian city of Aquila was affected by a devastating earthquake and has since been struggling to recover from the estimated 10 billion euros in damage. In an effort to raise community spirit and further aid the disaster recovery, late last year the Northern Italian city of Trento donated a colorful auditorium designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano.
The 2,500 square meter (26,909 sq. foot) performance center is comprised of three large cubic structures that appear to have casually “tumbled” into place. The cubes rest independently to one another, but are linked by walkways made from glass and steel. The central cube is home to a 238-seat concert hall, while the smaller cubes are placed on either side, catering for public services and including foyers, bars, bathrooms, dressing rooms and exhibition space for artists.
The entire auditorium, which is constructed from hundreds of wooden beams, was prefabricated in Trento and then flat packed and transported to Aquila before being assembled onsite. All three cubes are made entirely of specially treated wood to protect against homogenous oxidation, and have been built to withstand earthquakes. In addition, 90 trees have been planted near the auditorium to make up for the timber used to build the project.
Inside the concert hall, the walls have been equipped with a series of hanging raw-wood acoustic panels which are oriented towards the audience to reflect sound inside the auditorium. In addition, two approximately 2-meter (6.56 ft.)-high acoustic walls have been positioned to reflect sound towards the orchestra, ensuring optimum acoustics.
The auditorium's exterior has been integrated into its surrounding park landscape and organized to accommodate outdoor events. The area can be fitted with seating to accommodate around 500 people and is said to be ideal for open-air performances or watching events on the big screen.