Stunning University Music Theater Engulfed In Custom GKD Metal Mesh

June 30, 2015

Project Name: Mumuth Music Theatre

Location: Graz, Austria

Architect: UNStudio

GKD Metal Fabric: Custom Omega Divergence

Photographer: Christian Richters and Iwan Baan

UNStudio designed the Mumuth Music Theatre in Graz, Austria’s largest student-based city, back in 1998. Beating out over 200 competitive proposals for the University Theater, UNStudio’s Principal Architect, Ben van Berkel states,

“The desire to make a building that is as much about music as a building can be, has been a constant throughout the nearly ten years that it took to build the theatre and the themes that are at the basis of the building and its overall organization have also endured throughout this time.”

UNStudio’s 19 million Euro construction focused on internal spatial arrangements, creating fluidity throughout the interior in a unique Blob-to-Box design model. The model consists of two contrasting design typologies, which the architects explain, “This principle of a spiral that divides itself into a number of interconnected smaller spirals that take on a vertical and diagonal direction became an important design model for us which we called the blob-to-box model.”

The architects further state that the unit-based volume/box is the black box of the theater and is situated on the right side, while the movement-based volume (the public circulation and foyer), are located on the left side of the building. As Graz is an educational epicenter, there is intense competition between Universities to get new students. To combat this, the architects designed an exterior to attract attention, not only new students, but theater patrons as well.

The entire façade is enveloped in custom Omega Divergence GKD metal mesh. Rod spacings provided the necessary effects for the daylighting façade. In addition to the special Omega, a custom attachment method was employed to secure and tension the fabric. The 66 panels are in somewhat of a concave mounted position, necessitating the special design.