Big sound for the small town
The small town of Weikersheim in Baden-Württemberg is a secret capital of classical music. This is where the youth music NGO Jeunesses Musicales has its German headquarters and organises workshops, rehearsal days and competitions in the Renaissance castle. Recently, the musical town of Weikersheim acquired a second landmark: the TauberPhilharmonie, a spectacular concert and event centre just outside the gates of the old town.
It is said that the most beautiful view over Weikersheim can be enjoyed from the Wartturm above the town. From here, the view sweeps over the idyllic Tauber valley with its vineyards and fields, over the historic buildings between the medieval town walls and finally comes to rest on an imposing building that you would not expect to find here in the small idyllic Franconian town. Like a modern sculpture made of dark wood and glass, the TauberPhilharmonie concert hall rises up on the riverbank opposite the castle - a concert and event venue you would expect to find in Munich or Stuttgart rather than here in rural Baden-Württemberg. With this new building, which has taken the place of the former town hall, Weikersheim continues its long tradition as a centre for classical music and at the same time creates a place for cultural encounters of every kind. For the Philharmonie not only hosts concerts by artists of international standing, it is also a stage for the local art and cultural scene, for exhibitions, congresses and events of all kinds. "In this house the unifying character of culture takes centre stage. It is a house for everyone," says Johannes Mnich, the director of the TauberPhilharmonie.
Solitary at the entrance to the town
Design a multi-functional event centre: this was the brief of the architectural competition announced by the town of Weikersheim in 2012. The winning project came from the international architectural office HENN, which designed a "culture and event centre as a solitary building at the entrance to the town", which "captivates with its sculptural building form and defines a striking start" (jury's statement). The building consists of two interlocking structures, which together form an irregular pentagon. The larger and higher part of the building houses the large concert hall with 600 seats, in the smaller part there is a multifunctional and divisible hall with 200 seats. The main entrance, located at the intersection of the two structures, opens up to the forecourt with a generous glass front and provides a view in both directions: into the building, which like a modern town gate provides access to Weikersheim, and out of the building across the river to the Renaissance castle.
Resounding, resonating wood
Whether violin or double bass, clarinet, timpani or vibraphone: classical music is unthinkable without wood that is made to resonate and resound. The HENN team has embraced the musical significance of this natural material in the architecture of the TauberPhilharmonie. The concert hall was built entirely in timber construction, only load-bearing elements were made of reinforced concrete. In the concert halls, convex curved wall panels provide perfect acoustics and a harmonious sound. Wood also characterises the exterior: vertical slats made of local white fir and board cladding of Nordic spruce lend the building its sculptural impression, while the windows set back behind the façade give it additional depth. Before the façade was installed by Holzbau Dresden, the profiles were planed in the factory of the solid wood expert Häußermann and then roughened with a planing mill in order to achieve the effect of a rough sawn surface. The wood was then coated twice with ADLER Lignovit Platin in dark onyx black. The high-quality water-based glaze gives the façade an even, elegant colour that anticipates the natural greying of the wood. Metallic shimmering effect pigments, which particularly come into their own due to the rough surface, complete the characteristic appearance of the building, "like a dark UFO landing on the Tauber" which in
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