Porto’s Futuristic Casa da Musica

Porto is known for its very old town center, where block after block of well-preserved buildings are hundreds of years old.  Our guide Christina Duarte told us that when developers want to reconstruct or repair an exterior, everything must be rebuilt exactly the way it was found.

But Porto is also looking to the future.  I visited the futuristic Casa da Musica, designed by the same architect, Rem Koolhas, of Holland, who co-designed the new Public Library in downtown Seattle, where I live.   They were both finished around 10 years ago and in the world of architectural design are termed post-modern.

From the outside, it is sort of odd looking.

Rather routine exterior of the Casa

Exterior of the Casa

But inside, on a guided tour, it gets interesting, especially if you play music, or love it.

A striking display of illuminated spheres suspended in air

A display of illuminated spheres suspended in space, shadows resembling notes on a page, or notes of higher and lower pitch, or …..

The Casa is both for professionals and the public to use, not just a professional performance hall.   It has a large concert hall, a more intimate concert hall, recording studios, practice studios, listening rooms where the sound system can be fine-tuned to fit the music and needs of listeners.  It has two children’s rooms, one orange (active), and one purple (calming).  Most interesting about the interior is the way ambient light is allowed in.

Curved glass absorbs the sound and keeps it in while lighting the room

Curved glass absorbs sound in the concert hall and keeps it in, while allowing natural light into the room

Orchestra members taking a break at rehearsal are distorted through the glass

Orchestra members taking a break at rehearsal are distorted through the glass

Soundproofing in listening room

Soundproofing and ambient light in a listening room

Sheet music suspended in air in the lobby

Sheet music suspended in air


4 responses to “Porto’s Futuristic Casa da Musica

  1. Wow, the Casa da Musica looked like a pretty cool place to visit. Reminds me of Seattle’s Experience Music Project.

  2. I hadn’t thought of that. The “museum” and tech aspects are more elaborate at the EMP. The Casa has more space for playing and listening to music, straight up. I’ve added a few more photos …

  3. Que interesante se ve esta Casa da Musica. Debes haberla disfrutado mucho. Tuviste oportunidad de escuchar algo en vivo o solo en las salas? Para el que le gusta la musica debe ser una experiencia fascinante. Me alegra que puedas haberla conocido. Con tus viajes o los de amigos mios que me cuentan, viajo yo un poco tambien. Gracias hermanito.
    No pierdo la esperanza de volver a viajar. La esperanza es lo ultimo que se pierde

  4. Escuchamos solo el ensayo de la orquestra. El concepto de un edificio publico dedicada al arte de criar musica, me gusta mucho.

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