7 Exceptional Concert Halls

by | 20. Oct 2014


Sydney Opera House.


Making a succesful concert hall is a tricky business. Obviously, the main concern will first and foremost be to create the best possible acoustic conditions inside the building – but a dashing exterior is equally important, as the building in most cases must also present itself as a symbol of national pride.

Arguably, the most iconic example of such a rare synthesis of exterior form and interior function is Jørn Utzon’s masterpiece, the Sydney Opera House. It is one of the world’s most recognizable structures with outstanding acoustics to boot.

Gehry’s warping, steel plate-clad Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and Henning Larsen’s prismatic Harpa Opera in Reykjavik are more recent examples of concert halls that are both visually stunning and auditorily impressive.

OMA’s Casa da Música in Porto and Snøhetta’s Oslo Opera House, on the other hand, are remarkable due to the way they incorporate the surrounding city fabric. Both buildings are framed by large public plazas, and thus, they renegotiate and democratize the role of the concert hall – historically regarded as a solitary stronghold of high culture, out of view from the public eye.

See more examples below.

Casa da Musica by OMA in Porto, Portugal. Exterior Photo: Charlie Koolhaas

Casa da Música
Porto, Portugal

Harpa by Henning Larsen Architects in Reykjavik, Iceland, Photo: Nic Lehoux

Henning Larsen Architects
Reykjavik, Iceland


Walt Disney Concert Hall
Gehry Partners, LLP
Los Angeles, California, USA

DR Concert Hall
Ateliers Jean Nouvel
Copenhagen, Denmark

National Centre for the Performing Arts
Paul Andreu Architecte
Beijing, China

Tenerife Concert Hall
Santiago Calatrava
Canary Islands, Spain

Oslo Opera House by Snøhetta in Oslo, Norway. Exterior view. Photo © Statsbygg

Oslo Opera House
Oslo, Norway