Isozaki, (1931 -) was a disciple of Kenzo Tange, a prestigious master of architecture in the 60s. Arata Isozaki has designed buildings in Asia, Europe and America, and has been a visiting professor at numerous universities, including Harvard, Columbia and Yale. His work skillfully combines the sensibility of traditional Japanese architecture with Western postmodernism, innovating in the use and juxtaposition of materials, using eclectic details and blending elements of the past with technologically sophisticated details.
The Kyoto Concert Hall is an example of his professional expertise. It is a 5-story building, planned to commemorate the 1200 anniversary of the founding of Kyoto city, opened in 1995 and since then dedicated to the dissemination of classical music, either instumental or choral.
ensemble -designed for small concerts- contains 500 seats. In addition, it contains offices and large and spacious waiting rooms.
As Paul Goldberger,a critic from the New York Times, mentioned:
"the real fusion is not between cultures but between eras, between the acceptance of forms transmitted to us and those to come."
Isozaki's proposal combines both styles in a series of volumes, in which the massive orthogonal concert hall is screened by the graceful arrange of curved glass screens. Their winding silhouettes result in the building's main facade, whose setback from the street creates an atrium that allows a better observation of the venue.
It is noteworthy that the building is not entered from the main facade, but from the side. As Isozaki himself recalls,
"I made the approach complex and difficult to understand spatially... the way the Hall is long, bending in various ways and then spiralling upwards. the approach to a temple in Kyoto is never straight. It bends and turns. That is the technique used to make a small place seem more extensive. I use that technique three-dimensionally, not two-dimensionally. "
At the corner, a stunning sheer volume of conical shape is placed surrounded by clear, calm water. In its first floor the cone houses a French food restaurant (I do not recommend the Japanese style crepes), which can be accessed by a bridge over the water, designed by Isozaki as a remembrance to Japan's tradition. A few blocks of natural stone limit the pool, whose rough surface contrasts with the fine finishing details of the structure.
The main concert hall is a rectangular box, such as the one in the theaters in Boston or Vienna.
This space is the most exquisite one in the building, every detail in his wooden interior has been taken into account to provide comfort, lighting, acoustics during the performances.
It is sober, precise, and serene as a Japanese temple. The interior hosts an impressive organ of over 7000 tubes, which is the visual spot, perpendicular to the room's longitudinal axis.
The hexagonal Ensemble is designed for small concerts or chamber music and can accommodate 500 spectators.The entire lighting system is mounted on a triangular grid, arranged within an metallic ellipse, which Isozaki called a "stellar constellation", and it appears to float as a spacecraft on top of the stage.
Here, in brief, polyphonic chorus will execute the soft notes of a traditional Japanese song. In time, the notes of a Strauss minuet coming from the flutes will float among the fine wooden lattice slats, which so delicately and graciously adorn the lower part of the room.