WHAT architecture - London

Sinfonia Varsovia

Scale15000 sqm
LocationVarsovia, PO
Design Year2000

This proposal for a Symphony Hall in Warsaw draws upon existing conditions as a means for developing and enhancing the site.


The first condition relates to the circumnavigable urban nature of the site. The site is bordered by streets such that there is a variety of ways to arrive: on foot, by bike, bus, car, taxi, tram and subway. This means the site has ‘360 degree accessibility’ and it was recognised that this ‘access all areas’ condition must be preserved to ensure the project remains well connected to the urban fabric.

Thus it was decided that the foyer must gather all the various points of arrival and connect these directly to a central auditorium. From a 360-degree site comes a 360-degree total foyer! Specific site conditions demand the project does not have a front door but multiple entry points and so three existing buildings are reprogrammed (Rehearsal, Administration, Restaurant) to become the new entry points, indeed the new doors to the project.

The second condition relates the location of the existing architecture to the competition programme. Three existing buildings frame the new foyer determining its size. In this way the new architecture is directly connected to the old: the new central auditorium connects to the existing heritage of conserved buildings due to the total foyer.


The third condition relates to a landscape condition. On site there are a number of existing mature trees, which give the site with a park like quality. These mature trees must be integrated with the total foyer. Patio courtyards are created to also bring in natural daylight (or evening stars). The natural landscape quality of the total foyer is further intensified through extensive re-planting across the rest of the site. Within these woods spaces can be created for informal performances. The foyer has interior, exterior and covered spaces and its eco-roof could be covered with wheat in reference to the rural landscape surrounding Warsaw and Polish music’s folk origins.