International multidisciplinary engineering consultancy Buro Happold is to provide the structural engineering and building services design for the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra’s (NOSPR) new performance venue.

Based on the site of the former Katowice mine as part of the City Council’s broader plan to revitalise the local area, acoustics will be a key requirement in the building design.

New Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra venue, Katowice
New Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra venue, Katowice

Acoustic enhancement solutions include grouping the audition rooms together in instrumental sections to minimise acoustic interference as well as locating all technical facilities in an area separate to the main event spaces with underground equipment storage.

The main concert hall will use two independent ventilation systems servicing the audience and stage zones respectively. Air will be blown into the audience zone through diffusers located under the seating areas while the stage will be supplied with air blown through displacement diffusers and jet nozzles. It will be removed from both zones through extract grilles in the upper area of the concert hall.

Where there are particular ventilation requirements for specific instruments, the orchestra will be provided with localised control over air temperature and humidity. Rooms within the main ‘circle’ building requiring heightened acoustic performance will be supplied with air from a separate duct and every other room will be equipped with attenuators.

Sustainability measures include cutting water usage by up to 30% through rain water harvesting, which will be used on vegetation and to supply external fountains, as part of a closed rotation water system. During spring and autumn, a natural cooling system will be employed utilising a ventilation system designed to recapture heat.

The venue is due for completion in 2012.