The long awaited new cultural institution of Budapest and Hungary, the Palace of Arts, was opened in 2005. This was one of the most prestigious celebrations of the past hundred years in Hungary’s cultural history, since this conglomeration of cultural buildings has no precedent in 20th century Hungarian architecture. The investment took place in the form of a “Public Private Partnership”, in a co-operation between the Ministry of National Cultural Heritage and Trigránit Development Corporation. The principal contractor, Arcadom Construction Ltd and the planning Zoboki, Demeter and Partners Architectural Office, developed the institution’s programmes and details in collaboration with numerous associate planners and specialist consultants.
The creators of this institute, which is unparalleled in Central Europe, were inspired by the concept of creating a new European cultural citadel as part of the new Millennium City Centre of Budapest, close the Danube bank which features on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It is an ambitious goal, but everything is present at the Palace of Arts to achieve it: grand spaces, the most modern technology, and above all, a unique concentration of efforts which brings all the branches of art together in a single venue.
The Palace of Arts Ltd has been formed by the Ministry of National Cultural Heritage to co-ordinate and professionally run the programmes, and as a good host, regards it as its duty to present not only the finest representatives of Hungarian artistic life, but also welcome artists and ensembles from all parts of the world: those who visited regularly and those who wish to bring their performances and productions to Hungary for the first time.
The FIABCI Prix d’Excellence – Specialized Category Prize awarded to the Palace of Arts
The Palace of Arts was awarded the “FIABCI Prix d’Excellence 2006” in the “specialized” category, which is the equivalent of an Oscar Award for construction and real estate development. It is bestowed on buildings – education and cultural institutions, libraries, airports etc. – which offer products and services to the general public. FIABCI (the International Real Estate Federation) was formed in 1951 and is represented in 56 countries and every year, organises the International Prix d’Excellence for International Real Estate development, aiming to select and reward the most successful projects. The principal criteria for judging is to what extent does a given development serve the interests of society, how much does it improve the living conditions of the local people and how well does it meet the requirements of its users. Representatives of the investment, construction, planning and operating companies were presented this award on the 29th May 2006 in Bangkok, in recognition of our cultural building complex which plays such an important role in the Millennium City Centre.
There are few cultural institutions in Europe that can boast the ISO quality certification (for example, the twenty year old Pompidou Centre in Paris only launched its application in 2004 before finally obtaining the ISO 9001:2000 version). In the year of its inauguration, 2005, the Palace of Arts, initiated the detailed examination process and after continuous inspection, in 2006 was awarded the latest version of the certification, the ISO 9001:2000, ahead of the Pompidou Centre.
Béla Bartók National Concert Hall
The National Concert Hall is located in the heart of the new Palace of Arts and has the dimensions of a Gothic cathedral. The world class acoustics are the work of the distinguished ARTEC firm (New York), led by Russell Johnson. Their work in creating concert halls and opera houses in countries all over the globe has been widely praised and acknowledged by performers and audiences alike.
The auditorium of the National Concert Hall accommodates a maximum of 1699 people and 130 podium seats can be added by chamber concerts. For students there are 136 standing places on the side galleries in the second and third floor.
The orchestra podium is located in the open auditorium, with mobile units facilitating the creation of three different stage sizes and an orchestra pit if required. The acoustic canopies over the concert podium serve to create the appropriate acoustics for a performance, as are the reverberant chambers which surround the inner space if their doors are opened. György Jovánovics’s plastic sculptures are not only decorative but were created to contribute to the sound quality.
The state-of-the-art audio visual system is suitable to achieve unique light effects, sound recordings and film projections. CD and DVD professional recordings can be made in the studio adjoining the hall.
In spring 2006, the “queen” of the instruments, a new concert organ, took her place in the Béla Bartók Concert Hall. This magnificent instrument, with its 92 registers and 5 manuals, was under construction for thirteen months, involving some sixty expert professionals. The largest pipes were put in place during the initial construction phase of the hall, itself a world first. Made from the finest materials, this instrument matches the strictest guarantee conditions, and its tonal stability is ensured by a ten month tuning period as well as a specially constructed air conditioning system.
The Festival Theatre in the eastern third of the Palace of Arts building seating 452 also has the most modern technology and thanks to the acoustic design it can be used not only for prose performances but also for classical music concerts, chamber operas, jazz concerts, world music and light music events.
The size and technical facilities of the 750-square-metre stage make it one of the best in the world. It has a side stage, a back stage that is adaptable for projection and an upper engineering structure of 24 metres that facilitates set movement. The proscenium opening can be adjusted from 12 to 18 metres, to suit the requirements of the production.
The latest electronic technologies in this hall offer the possibility of professional sound and video recording. In the auditorium of the theatre hall the role of the traditional acoustic covering is played by the works carved in walnut by sculptor Sándor Ambrus.
Edited by betax_ on 21 Feb 2009, 09:12
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