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"Acoustics is often neglected if it’s not prioritised in the early design phases" says Peer Jeppesen

Denmark Architecture News - Feb 26, 2018 - 01:38   5839 views

"Unfortunately, acoustics is often neglected if it’s not prioritized in the early design phases," says Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen, Principal Partner and Design Director of Henning Larsen Architects, the world-renowned Danish architecture firm specialising on innovative and large-scaled concert and performance halls in the world.

"Acoustics is an essential part of being comfortable within a space. Creating the right atmosphere applies to all successful architecture projects, which is why acoustics is key," explains Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen.

Harpa concert Hall and Conference Center in Reykjavik, Iceland. Image © Nic Lehoux/Henning Larsen

Acoustics is definitely one of the most significant parts of a design process for cutting-edge performance venues built in many places of the world - especially using innovative technology or considering fundamental parts, layers of any building are not sufficient to think about a well-performed space - it becomes an art form designed or controlled by an architect. 

In this exclusive interview, Jeppesen spoke to Radka Ondrackova, Communication Director of reSITE, as related to RESONATE Thinking Sound and Space, powered by MAAT museum and reSITE. A Conference on Architecture, Art and Sound in Collaboration with Meyer Sound was held on February 12, 2018 at the MAAT Museum, in Lisbon.

The Royal Danish Opera in Copenhagen, Denmark. Image courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects

Although Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen couldn't attend the conference personally, Louis Becker, Partner and Design Principal at Henning Larsen Architects, made a fascinating presentation on the Harpa concert Hall and Conference Center in Reykjavik, Iceland. 

Reykjavik's Harpa concert Hall and Conference Center, conceived one of the greatest Iceland landmarks, was presented as one of three case studies at RESONATE Conference in Lisbon by Henning Larsens' Design Principal and Partner Louis Becker. 

University of Southern Denmark – Campus Kolding. Image courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects

Radka Ondrackova spoke to the Founder of the acclaimed architecture practice, Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen, and asked him about the acoustic secrets of this achievement and some other things most of you don’t know about him and his firm. 

Read the edited transcript of the interview with Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen below:


Radka Ondrackova, reSITE: Film directors and screenwriters often think of specific actors when they create characters and write their roles. Have you thought of specific singers, conductors and opera sopranos when you designed the Harpa Concert Hall, Copenhagen Opera House and Hangzhou East Lake Opera? Or, is it more user focused?

Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen: Overall, I think it is safe to say that we have an immense focus on the wide array of people that are to use the building. Whether it is concert quests for whom we want to facilitate a unique experience, or the different people who are going to work there and will use the building at regular intervals, such as musicians, singers and other groups. The essential objective is to create a space, where people pride themselves of what a joint effort can accomplish in terms of extraordinary performances.

We also look at the building’s main function and go over how we can design a solution that exceeds the initial demands. For instance, we assess additional usage possibilities that the client is yet to consider in order to ensure that the building is used optimally and by many different user groups as possible. Harpa has had 1,5 million visitors during the first couple of years, so it is not only a concert hall, but also a house that the general public loves to use. In this case, we believe that we accomplished our prime objective.

Frederiksbjerg School in Aarhus, Denmark. Image courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects

Radka Ondrackova, reSITE: In the process of designing a concert venue or opera house, at what moment do you think about the acoustics?

Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen: The auditorium makes the heart of a concert hall and is the main constituent. We consider its function and the basic structure to best facilitate the art form that is to be performed in the space. By doing so, the overall acoustic scheme is determined, but a lot of details and thoughts on the matter spill out throughout the process.

Radka Ondrackova, reSITE: Do you think about acoustics in every architectural work you design with Henning Larsen?

Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen: Definitely. Acoustics is an essential part of being comfortable within a space. Creating the right atmosphere applies to all successful architecture projects, which is why acoustics is key. Unfortunately, it is often neglected if it’s not prioritized in the early design phases.

Radka Ondrackova, reSITE: Would you tell us something we probably don’t know about Henning Larsen?

Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen: Similar to acoustics, daylight is also an often-overlooked means to creating a comfortable space. It plays a pivotal part in regards to our well-being and is something that we deliberately work with throughout our portfolio to create the right ambience in our projects.

Kiruna City Hall in Kiruna, Sweden. Image courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects

Radka Ondrackova, reSITE: If you weren’t an architect or the Principal Partner of Henning Larsen, what would you be?

Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen: A chef.

Radka Ondrackova, reSITE: What do you consider as Henning Larsen’s biggest achievement?

Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen: To work deliberately with "People, Daylight, Space."

Hangzhou East Lake Opera in Hangzhou, China. Image courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects

Radka Ondrackova, reSITE: If you had to design a place to host one concert or cultural event - close to your heart, where would this place be, and for what artist?

Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen: That is a difficult question, because the array of great possibilities is wide. For instance, the raw experience: a symphony concert or Metallica at Kraftwerk in Berlin. And in the opposite end of the spectrum - a Swedish summer, a small, charming restaurant by a lakeside and a performance by Lisa Ekdahl.

Radka Ondrackova, reSITE: What do you listen to when you drive, if you drive?

Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen: I always listen to the dialogue-based radio channel P1 in Danish Radio, where you always learn something new.

Uppsala Concert & Congress Hall in Vaksala Torg, Uppsala, Sweden. Image courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects

Peer is a Partner and Design Director for the Danish and Scandinavian market. Having joined Henning Larsen in 1986, Peer possesses a unique understanding of the company’s history and design method. For more than 30 years he has been an essential part of Henning Larsen’s development, including notable contributions to shaping practice’s profile in cultural and education projects as well as urban planning. 

Peer has stood at the helm for many of Henning Larsen's major works, including as head partner for all phases of Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center (winner of the Mies van der Rohe Award in 2013), Uppsala Concert Hall and Conference Center, the Copenhagen Opera House, SDU Kolding Campus, Frederiksbjerg School, Kiruna City Hall and the Vinge masterplan.

Uppsala Town Hall in Sweden. Image courtesy of Henning Larsen Architects

Henning Larsen Architects recently completed the Nordea Bank Headquarters in Denmark and Frankfurt School of Finance and Management in Frankfurt, Germany. The firm is currently working on a masterplan for King Abdullah Financial District, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Etobicoke Civic Center in Toronto and Uppsala Town Hall in Sweden. 

Top image: Peer Teglgaard Jeppesen, courtesy of reSITE

> via reSITE/Henning Larsen Architects