Wrapped around by glass walls and topped by a large overhanging roof that resembles a mushroom, the recently opened House of Music in Budapest was designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto to mimic the feeling of being under a tree canopy. It is part of an ambitious project which will see several museums located in Budapest’s massive 122-hectare City Park.
The House of Music has three storeys that were created to reflect “the three movements of a musical score”. A large basement level contains all of the museum’s main gallery spaces including a permanent exhibition named Sound Dimensions – Musical Journeys in Space and Time, which focuses on the history of European music. A hemispherical sound dome, where up to 60 people can experience 360-degree sound from a network of 31 loudspeakers, is also on this level.
The largely open ground floor has two concert halls, a smaller venue for lectures and workshops, and a glass-walled auditorium with 320 seats designed for musical performances. The entire floor is surrounded by 94 glass panels, the largest of which rises 12 metres in height and are deliberately arranged in a zig-zag fashion to channel sound upwards to the ceiling where it is absorbed.
Above the main level, the first floor is located within the roof structure. This level contains a multimedia library and archive of Hungarian pop music, as well as classrooms and office spaces.
The three floors are connected by a large feature spiral staircase.
The building’s roof is punctuated by 100 openings, some of which contain trees, while others lightwells that allow natural light into the building. On the underside of the roof, 30,000 geometric shapes are incorporated to to evoke tree leaves have been set in the ceiling.