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House Orchestra in France

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Architects from Herault Arnod Architectes designed a unique concert hall in the frameworks of the reconstruction of a former industrial site in Oignies (Pas-de-Calais, France). The building, on the one hand, acts as a speaker to amplify the sound, and, on the other hand – it is able to make music by itself.

“Singing” House Orchestra in France

Metaphone concert hall by  Herault Arnod Architectes in in Oignies (Pas-de-Calais, France)

Metaphone concert hall by  Herault Arnod Architectes in in Oignies (Pas-de-Calais, France)

The project was initiated in 2005, when the Bureau of Herault Arnod Architectes won the tender for the renovation of a former coal mine, built in the early XX century and closed down in 1990, as well as a small village of miners. As conceived by the developers, it was supposed to build a cultural center on this site, which would increase investment and tourism appeal of Oignies.

The concept of complex reconstruction was expected to maintain the architectural appearance of buildings and the appearance of some objects (in particular, the engineering corps mine, tower hoists, waste heaps, administrative building, etc.) with their functional reorientation; construction of a concert and multifunctional hall, main pedestrian esplanade; organization of a new entrance to the complex.

Authors of the project decided to create not just a concert hall, but a unique architectural landmark, a kind of musical instrument of urban scale. It has even a registered name – Metaphone. This building is made ​​of reinforced concrete with an extension on the one hand, reminiscent of a speaker. A notable architectural element of the Metaphone is an open wooden terrace with a ten- scene console glass canopy roof and transparent balustrade.

The shell of the concert hall is a metal construction, bearing 712 cladding panels of several types, made ​​of Corten steel, larch plywood, transparent and opalescent glass. Panels can resonate and produce sound waves. This is the know-how of the project developed by the architects together with musician and sound producer Louis Dandrel.

Pickups and amplifiers are attached to the wooden panels enclosing façade. They convert the building into an unusual musical instrument. During concerts on the terrace the “speaker” amplifies the sound, which spreads for miles around the neighborhood. And when there are no concerts, speakers broadcast the hum produced by the wind and vibrating panels. Each of them has a special attachment that prevents sound waves impact on the frame. There is a concert hall with 500 seats for fans of more traditional sound. Its walls are covered with felt inside for soundproofing.


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