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2005 – Casa da Música, Porto

Architect: Rem Koolhaas OMA

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Casa da Música is a major concert hall space which houses the cultural institution of the same name with its three orchestras Orchestra Nacional do Porto, Orchestra Barroca and Remix Ensemble. It was designed by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas with Office for Metropolitan Architecture and Arup-AFA, and was planned as part of Porto’s project for European Culture Capital in 2001 but was only finished in the first half of 2005.

Although construction ran over four years over schedule and cost roughly €100M, the building process brought new engineering challenges in order to create its unusual configuration. The interior is unusual for its many varied spaces and materials. The building’s design has been highly acclaimed worldwide. Nicolai Ouroussoff, architecture critic from the New York Times, described it as the “most attractive project the architect Rem Koolhaas has ever built” and saying it’s “a building whose intellectual ardor is matched by its sensual beauty”. He also compares it to the “exuberant design” in Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. “Only looking into the original aspect of the building, this is one of the most important concert halls built in the last 100 years”. He compares it to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, in Los Angeles, and the Berliner Philharmonie.