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Visitor’s centre at the Vienna State Opera
Visitor’s centre at the Vienna State Opera
Visitor’s centre at the Vienna State Opera
Visitor’s centre at the Vienna State Opera
Visitor’s centre at the Vienna State Opera
Visitor’s centre at the Vienna State Opera
Visitor’s centre at the Vienna State Opera

BWM Architekten redesigned the Bundestheater Holding’s visitor centre in Vienna’s State Opera as a representative space that aims to be a meeting place for the city’s music world, while dissolving the boundaries between high culture and urban living.

As the competition winners, BWM Architekten developed an open concept for a versatile, forward-looking visitor centre in the opera house. A 20m-long table along the central axis of the hall provides structure for the various functions: during the day, the main focus is on ticket sales, service and information; as the evening closes in, the space transforms like a stage and becomes a meeting spot where the local culture and music scene can socialise. Whether day or night, it is a welcoming place for all visitors.

A tribute to its history.

"Working in a building of such cultural significance is not only an absolute joy, but also a great honour", says BWM architect Johann Moser. “And because visiting the opera is not something you do every day,” he adds, “we wanted to create a design that does justice to the special nature of the occasion.” BWM’s design is mindful of the original architecture dating back to the latter part of the 19th century and also takes into account the 1950s-style alterations made by architect Erich Boltenstern during the building’s reconstruction after World War II.

As versatile as a stage.

The new visitor centre was designed to be a representative space that transforms as the day goes on. “Because there are no partitions, the space is now perceived as a whole – you get a good sense of its height and width,” BWM project manager Ingrid Schmid explains. The central element is a table, almost 20m in length, along the central axis that is used for ticket sales, information and the shop during the day, and transforms into a bar slash community table in the evening. “Because ticket sales are largely handled online nowadays, we wanted to keep the functionality of the counter flexible and as multifunctional as possible for future usages,” says Johann Moser.

From past to present.

The table, which consists of three sections, boasts a dark-green marble surface and a brass skirting with stained oak wood below it. The corrugated surfaces of the table’s vertical parts are definite eye-catchers; they pay homage to the flutes, or vertical grooves, on the original columns in the hall and translate them to the furniture.

So-called “smart mirrors” are installed on the walls to the left of the entrance. Concealed behind them are monitor screens that, when switched on, display an information board; when off, the smart mirrors are a visual element in the style of the original mirrors.

Opera house rendezvous.

A semi-circular bar element in the same style and materials as the table completes the space. Beverages such as coffee and sparkling wine are prepared and served here, turning the visitor centre into a social venue where Vienna’s music scene can meet up and chat. At the same time, it is an extension of sorts of the opera bar and invites patrons of the opera to drop in after a performance. There is a sitting area in front of each window, with comfortable, classic sofas and stools upholstered with green velvet. The hall is also an apt venue for premiere parties and can be rented out for third-party events.

Das BWM-Team v.l.n.r.: Ingrid Schmid, Erich Bernard, Johann Moser, Kinga Baluch, Hubert Meyer
Das BWM-Team v.l.n.r.: Ingrid Schmid, Erich Bernard, Johann Moser, Kinga Baluch, Hubert Meyer

Musical lighting.

High-quality materials such as stone, brass and wood enhance the unique character of this location, as does the lighting, which can be adjusted to complement the respective utilisation of the space. BWM Architekten developed the lighting concept in collaboration with light designer Christian Ploderer. A long, undulating chandelier element made of brass and reminiscent of musical staves is the eye-catching centrepiece of the pillared hall. During the day this light feature – dubbed the “Boltenstern chandelier” – provides neutral, white light; in the evening, its dimmed, warm light creates an exclusive atmosphere. The colour of the 270 rod-shaped LED lights made of frosted glass can be adjusted to underline the desired ambience. Lights with large coolie lampshades made from brushed brass, partly knurled and with wood elements, provide indirect lighting for the tables and walls. In addition, the lighting concept also reinforces the navigation through the visitor centre.

Task
New design for a 300m2 visitor centre in Vienna’s State Opera

Status
Completion 11/2020

Client
Bundestheater Holding GesmbH

BWM Team
Erich Bernard, Johann Moser, Ingrid Schmid, Hubert Meyer, Massimiliano Marian, Kinga Baluch, Daniela Dollack, Elena Atanassova

Image credit
BWM Architekten/ Severin Wurnig
BWM Architekten/ Renee del Missier

Participants

design chandeliers/ special luminaires
Christian Ploderer

Construction management & supervision
ART for ART Theaterservice GmbH

Fabrics/furniture
Gabriele Bruner

Models / VR visualisations
Lukas Dikany

Press

31 May 2021

More Than Design

Ein Raum wie eine Bühne

Link PDF

11 May 2021

CUBE

Ein Raum wie eine Bühne

PDF

9 April 2021

Architektur Aktuell

Wien: Ein multifunktionales Opernfoyer

PDF

19 February 2021

Die Presse Schaufenster

Im Blickfeld

PDF

15 February 2021

gast.at

Das sind die Pläne für das ehemalige Café Oper Wien

Link

15 February 2021

stammgast.online

Modernes Besucherzentrum für die Staatsoper

Link

13 February 2021

Die Presse

Staatsoper: Ein Akt des Trostes

PDF

11 February 2021

form-faktor.at

BWM Architekten modernisieren Foyer der Wiener Staatsoper

Link

7 December 2020

Puls24

Bundestheaterkassen übersiedeln in die Staatsoper

Link

7 December 2020

Salzburger Nachrichten

Bundestheaterkassen übersiedeln in die Staatsoper

Link

7 December 2020

Tiroler Tageszeitung

Bundestheaterkassen übersiedeln in die Staatsoper

Link

7 December 2020

Kleine Zeitung

Bundestheaterkassen übersiedeln in die Staatsoper

Link

7 December 2020

Wiener Zeitung

Bundestheaterkassen ziehen um

Link

7 December 2020

vienna.at

Neuer Standort für die Bundestheaterkassen

Link