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A pavilion with a “treasure chest” inside

The Casals Forum building

In its size and design, the Casals Forum is unique in Europe: a transparent, pavilion-style building with a “wooden treasure chest” – as architect Volker Staab calls the main concert hall – at its heart.

The building was designed by the multi-award-winning Staab Architects from Berlin, who closely involved renowned acoustician Martijn Vercammen in the planning. To meet the highest acoustic and aesthetic standards, the concert hall was given a “free form” design with curved convex and concave walls that diffuse the sound widely. The hall’s entire interior is clad in wood, whose surface properties help to further optimise the diffusion of sound.

The hall has been specially designed for the requirements of chamber music. It can seat an audience of 550, with a roughly equal number of seats in the stalls area and the balcony area. Wherever they are sitting, listeners will feel equally close to the performance and “right in the middle of the music”. The size of the stage is flexible, meaning it can be used for soloists, for small ensembles or for philharmonic chamber orchestras. On the outside, the transparent glass facade helps to integrate the building with the nearby Victoria Park.

The Casals Forum complex also includes an adjoining study centre for Kronberg Academy’s year-round study programmes. The centre houses tuition and rehearsal rooms, another concert hall for intimate concert experiences – the Carl Bechstein Hall, with a capacity of 150 – and a function room with a capacity of up to 50.

Another distinctive feature is the building’s sustainable, regenerative energy system. The Casals Forum is cooled using an innovative ice storage tank funded by the EU and the State of Hesse, making it (to the best of our knowledge) the first carbon-neutral concert hall.