At the MUMUTH Music Theatre in Graz, Austria, a shimmering metal façade is the perfect complement to the building’s combination of movement and music.
Located in Austria’s student-based city, the MUMUTH Music Theatre at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz combines a unit-based volume—the black box of the theater—and a series of movement-based volumes—the foyer and public circulation areas. The multipurpose auditorium can seat up to 450, and is adaptable to a wide variety of performances.
A spiraling constructive element connects the entrance to the auditorium and to the music rooms above. This “twist” forms a 3D interpretation of the repetitive pattern, executed in the muted tones of stage make-up, which is applied to the façade and then enveloped by a glittering mesh. “This desire—to make a building that is as much about music as a building can be—has been a constant throughout the nearly 10 years that it took to build the theatre,” says UNStudio’s Principal Architect Ben van Berkel. “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.”
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 from new or prospective students, but from theater patrons as well.
The entire façade is enveloped in GKD Metal Fabric’s 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.