Copenhagen Gallery

DR Concert Hall

With its new DR Concert Hall, Copenhagen has gained a prominent position on the world map of grand concert halls

If you took the Metro passing the new concert hall in DR City, you would not immediately guess what lies within its enormous blue shell. The building might seem to be of a completely uniform colour, but if you pass by it at the right time, the facade is illuminated by moving pictures that give you an idea of what is going on inside the blue box.

The DR Concert Hall was designed by world-renowned French architect Jean Nouvel, who imagined a meteor having hit and added vibrant life to the Ørestad district. The exterior of the building is a 45-metre-high rectangular box whose interior is a true Mecca for musicians and music lovers alike.

Seven-level foyer

The foyer of the Concert Hall is a single large space spread out on seven levels of the building. It contains twenty-five video projectors and fifty slide projectors used to project pictures onto the surfaces of the room. In accordance with the architect's wishes, the concrete was cast using a special technique called 'elephant skin' that creates distinctive folds in the concrete surface.

One building, many possibilities

The Concert Hall has four auditoria and halls of different sizes that cater to different types of music.

Studio 1 - also called the concert hall - is the largest hall in the building and will primarily be used for symphonic music. The 28,000 m3 room, which seems to float on a number of stair towers at the heart of the building, is laid out as an amphitheatre, with the stage at the centre and seating for the audience on staggered podiums on all sides of the stage. The concert hall, whose golden colours were inspired by the sunset in 'The Scream' painting by Edward Munch, has room for an audience of 1,800 people.

Like a Hollywood film studio

The other studios in the building are laid out in a row below the huge concert hall, separated by glass walls. The style of Studio 2 is rough, inspired by the classic film studios of Hollywood. With seating for 'only' 540 people, this studio is somewhat smaller than the concert hall, but the two stages are identical. The walls are clad with birch panels decorated with portraits of thirty-eight selected musicians representing a wide range of musical genres, thus emphasising that the studio will be used for all sorts of music, from classical to rock. To cater to the different requirements of the various genres, the wall panels can be rotated on rails to regulate the acoustics.

Interior inspired by the grand piano

Studio 3, the smallest studio of the Concert Hall, has neither a fixed staged nor permanent seating. The room looks like a black box theatre, with black walls that have alternating matte and glossy panels. The walls are of lacquered wood and felt, and they contain a number of doors that can be opened to regulate the sound in the room. The black and white interiors are inspired by the keys on a grand piano.

A study in scarlet

The scarlet-coloured Studio 4 is primarily to be used for choir and chamber music. Acoustics are regulated by felt-clad triangular wall panels that can be turned to achieve the desired effect. The stage is composed of podiums, which makes this studio highly flexible.


Even before its official opening, the new DR Concert Hall was awarded a diploma and a bronze plaque by the Association for the Beautification of Copenhagen, which each year awards diplomas to outstanding buildings in Copenhagen. At the award ceremony, Association chair Hans Peter Hagen described the Concert Hall as a significant work of architecture that was 'good for the blood circulation of people in Denmark'.

The Concert Hall has also been nominated for the prestigious Mies van der Rohe Award, the European Union award for contemporary architecture granted once every two years.


With its new DR Concert Hall, Copenhagen has gained a prominent position on the world map of grand concert halls. The walnut-shaped Studio 1 is made up of irregular segments that ensure optimal acoustic conditions. The man behind the acoustic design is Japanese Yasuhisa Toyota, who is known for his ability to design world-class acoustics. According to the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR), not a single person among those attending the DR National Symphony Orchestra's first rehearsal in the concert hall remained unimpressed with the fantastic sound quality.

The ceilings and the terrace walls are made of plywood with milled grooves that help to ensure optimal acoustics, and the surface of the plasterboard walls above the terraces is corrugated. To ensure correct reproduction of deep tones, the walls are composed of up to six layers and weigh at least 100kg/m².

A 250 square metre reflector is suspended above the stage to allow musicians to hear themselves and each other. When the music performed is not symphonic, large curtains may be drawn from the walls to optimise the sound quality.

Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014