Culture and Congress Centre – CKK Jordanki, Poland

Multifunctional Concert Hall “Jordanki”

Technical data:

Architects: Fernando Menis

Location: Torún. Poland. 53°00’50.0″N 18°36’06.0″E

Use: Cultural

Structure: Reinforced concrete

Materials: White concrete and red brick

Client: Municipality of Torun

Total built area: 21.837 m2

Budget: 51.025.731 euros

Status: Competition 2008, Project 2011. Construction 2011-2015

Day of inauguration: 12th December 2015

Awards: 2008 Competition 1st Prize  /  2010 Winner of Future Cultural Project at the World Architecture Festival (WAF)

Respectful integration with the environment

CKK Jordanki is located within a green ring around the historic city centre, overlooking the Vistula River. Therefore, special care was took in designing the orientation and height of the volumes so that the presence of the new building establishes a harmonious relationship with the natural and built environment. Thus the building occupies half of the plot, the other half being dedicated to park and the height is kept as low as possible, to avoid blocking the view over the river. The visual effect achieved is that of a natural object, a rock embedded in a gently sloping meadow.

On the other hand, the materiality refers Torun’s Gothic legacy, an UNESCO protected city, in which almost all the façades of the old town boast of red brick. CKK Jordanki’s outside is made of white concrete in contrast to the cuts in the skin that give a glimpse of the red inner lining, made of crushed brick. The use of brick in Jordanki CKK is a contemporary reinterpretation of the traditional brick, is a reference to Torun’s façades, and ultimately to its cultural heritage.

 Flexible program

The program is characterized by a great flexibility at such extent that a building, which according to the client’s brief, was meant to be only a concerts hall, ended up being a space for all kinds of concerts and events, within the same initial budget. First of all, the theatre space is able to adapt easily to different capacities. For instance you may join two rooms to act as the main theatre by moving the walls and changing the number of the easily removable seats. It is possible to hold several separate and simultaneous events. Secondly, thanks to its dynamic ceiling, the building can be tuned to effectively absorb symphonic performances, chamber, theatre, opera, and film and meet any acoustic requirements the theatre designer requires. Finally, the concert hall can open to the outside, allowing to join the interior stage with the park outside for outdoor performances.

Recycling and innovation: picado

Picado, used in the entire building, is a mix of concrete and other materials. At CKK Jordanki, it was mixed either with reclaimed red bricks from a local factory (Ceramsus) for the sound reflection effect; either with a volcanic reddish stone from China, for its sound absorption effect. The picado is an innovative technique, conceived by Fernando Menis, consisting of mixing concrete with other materials and break it afterwards. Besides achieving a rough expression, the picado allows excellent acoustics results. The first time Menis used it, was for Magma Art & Congress (Tenerife, Canary Islands, 2005), by mixing concrete with local volcanic stones. For the CKK Jordanki, the technique has been researched further, tested and certified by the Spanish and the Polish Building Research Institute -ITB, respectively. The red brick is present almost on all the façades of the city and its use in CKK Jordanki is Menis’s contemporary reinterpretation of this traditional material while a clear reference to the town’s cultural heritage.

Acoustics system

The definition of the auditorium space and of its shapes was made through an interactive process, always in relation to acoustics, until reaching the final shape. The plastic properties of concrete allows its use in concert halls in many different ways because it allows you to control the geometry (liquid stone) and adapt its shape to the formwork so that you can control the first sound reflections the listener received. In addition, the surface treatment of the crushed brick and concrete mix, allowed us a kind of diffusion, very difficult to achieve with other materials.

The moving parts of the auditorium have an area ranging from 80 to 140 m2, having a weight that varies according to the piece, from 11 to 20Tn. Each of the pieces can move independently from 3 to 5 m in height, allowing adjustment of the geometry and volume of the hall, depending on the needs of each moment, transforming a volume of 8200 m3 with a time reverberation of 1.85 seconds, into a volume of 6,800 m3, with a reverberation time reduced down to 1.35 seconds. By adding additional absorption you could reach a reverberation time of 1.2 seconds, which covers the entire range of possible activities:  1.85 seconds for symphonic music, 1.6 seconds for opera and 1.2 seconds for theater.