Graz Music Theater

Graz Music Theater in Graz, Austria by Reiser + Umemoto, 1998

The following text and images are by Reiser + Umemoto for their design of a music theater in Graz, Austria.

Our music theater is a response to the unique programmatic, spatial, and even structural conditions inherent in an institution that is both educational and civic in nature.

The intensive, daily activity of the music college necessitates a highly functional organization, one comprised of flexible, sober spaces which lend themselves to the careful development and refinement of works of music and theater. As such, the elements containing the academically-oriented programs operate as a kind of workshop for the production of the theatrical and orchestral arts.

The public spaces quite literally utilize the components of the scholastic programs contained in the plinth as a new ground. Performance, both theatrical and architectural, produces a new and elevated civic presence. The music theater is comprised of two interlocking building forms, each corresponding to the major programmatic functions of the institution: education and performance. The educational functions of the music theater are housed in a steel and glass plinth which receives the flows of students and faculty from the park and the college beyond. The civic functions of the auditorium and its affiliated spaces are housed within and under a concrete structure conceived as a forthright industrial space for the production of civic events. A long processional stair pulls the urban organization up through the body of the building, into a larger foyer and then into the main hall.

Upon the close of a performance, the audience exits out and down the same processional and moves back into the city, thus completing the cycle of civic performance.