Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects [LOHA]

Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects [LOHA]

Los Angeles, CA


Hungarian House of Music

To learn about music is to learn how to listen. Whether a performer, a member of the audience, or an academic musicologist, the act of listening to and internalizing a piece of music can lead to aural experiences beyond the written work as one begins to engage the music that is present all around them. Inspired by the Hungarian House of Music’s unique program of musical performance and discovery, we pursued architecture as an instrument for listening both internally and externally. Grounded by the presence of the site in City Park, Listening Chamber strives to receive and amplify its surroundings.

The spirit of inclusion present in the competition brief guided the project as we aimed to not only preserve the public outdoor space of the site, but open the building internally with a beautiful central atrium space from which the casual visitor could hear all of the amazing sounds being made in the building. This open and public promenade from the ground floor to the rooftop of the building serves as an extension of the surrounding park, that can provide shelter in the cool winter months and be opened up to the breezes of the summer.

The Listening Chamber seeks to add to the diverse collection of forms, spaces and experiences present in the City Park. Situated deep within the boundaries of the park, the building is conceived as an object in the landscape with equal emphasis being placed on all edges of the building. As an inflection point, offset from the extension of the Varosligeti Allee, the project orients its internal spaces towards three prominent views from the site toward the Lake, the proposed New National Gallery and the Promenade. The building mass is then carved away to create gently curving edges that cradle three distinct landscape experiences and allow the park to engage the building.

The building form gestures toward the new park promenade by lifting the performance space above the public entry plaza in an immense cantilever. The scale of this projection conveys the importance of the institution to the park, and creates an open covered area for visitors to gather protected from the elements. The building profile is further manipulated by reducing the height of the building fronting the lake to provide views from the roof top open space over the lake.

The variety of educational, exhibition and performance programs are all tied together through the common goals of public appreciation, participation and leisure. The building distributes these sometimes noisy programs around a central atrium space as a means to provide appropriate sound isolation, as well as to create a public zone that anchors the building to the park by providing a new indoor / outdoor space that captures the wonderful sounds of the building. Furthermore, this public Listening Chamber would allow the casual park-goer to travel to the top of the museum to gain sweeping roof-top views of the city park without entering ticketed exhibition or performance spaces. This form of public engagement allows the House of Music programming to reach many different types of patrons and audiences. The building then becomes a pedagogical tool that can communicate with the visitor on many different levels of engagement.

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Status: Competition Entry
Location: Budapest, HU
Additional Credits: Lorcan O'Herlihy, Charles Sharpless, Jessica Colangelo, Noelle White, Emily Ewbank