Good to listen to! Good to see! Enjoy the modernism of Maekawa's architecture at the Prefectural Music Hall.

聴いてよし! 観てよし! 県立音楽堂で前川建築のモダニズムを堪能

Visit, see and feel the world of art
File.17 Maekawa Architectural Tour in Music Hall
Miyuki Inoue (Magcal Editorial Department)

Kanagawa Prefectural Music Hall---commonly known as the "Wooden Hall."
I don't think there are any classical music fans who don't know about it, but with the recent construction boom, new fans are increasing.
Designed by Kunio Maekawa. Yes, he is one of Japan's leading architects, having studied under the architectural master Le Corbusier.
Difficult aside, it's stylish and cool!
I heard that the ``Maekawa Architecture Tour'' was being held to celebrate the museum's 65th anniversary and reopening, so I went there.

Let's start with the entrance, which has an impressive yellow frame.
The wall of the balcony is a "hollow brick" that matches the prefectural library next door. It seems to have an excellent functional design, but it seems that the reason why it was adopted for the music hall was because of the uniformity of the design. Please see last year's report for more details.
* Click here for the library architecture tour report >>

Maekawa's commitment to color can be seen at a glance inside the entrance. Maekawa agrees with the anecdote that he was so particular about color that he said, ``If I hadn't become an architect, I wanted to be a painter.''
Although it's not a large space, the gorgeous and impactful colors liven up the mood, so perhaps the design is appropriate for the entrance of a music hall.

The bright and open foyer is typical of Maekawa architecture.
Even though the pillars stand up neatly and are made of concrete, they have a certain elegance and elegance to them. If you look closely, you can see that it has wood grains, but this is because it is made by pouring hand-kneaded concrete into a frame made of wooden boards. Looking back on it now, it's a very analogous construction method, but the concrete of this era was apparently much stronger and more beautiful than the modern one.
The floor surface is made using a method called ``Terrazzo'' (artificial stone polished), which also has a handmade feel, but even after 65 years, it shows no signs of deterioration.

The music hall has been beautifully restored after undergoing renovation work over a period of 1 year and 2 months since last year, but the concept this time was to ``return it to how it was 65 years ago.'' Therefore, the lighting equipment is still the same as when it was first built. However, since the light source has been changed to LED, consideration for the environment is not neglected.
By the way, the reason why the ceiling is rattling like a staircase is because the audience seats are directly above it. It has a gentle staircase shape that matches the slope of the second floor seats.

So, I went inside the hall.
The concert hall was modeled after London's Royal Festival Hall. Although it's quite small, there are tiered floors from the front row to the last row, so you can see the stage clearly from every seat.
According to Seiko Ishikawa, who was in charge of the acoustic design, the absence of any ``projections'' such as the second-floor balcony also has an advantage in the sound quality.

As the nickname "Wooden Hall" suggests, the soundboard on the stage, the walls and ceiling of the audience seats are all made of wood. The wavy ceiling is also made of wood, of course.
It seems that the immediate post-war period made it difficult to choose anything other than wood, but through careful consideration and ingenuity, the result was a sound that was praised by musicians around the world as having the best sound in the East. That's why it's wonderful.

Also pay attention to the wall behind the second floor seats!
A board with holes is bent like a folding screen. This is also a device to prevent the sound from reverberating more than necessary. This wall has also been thoroughly cleaned and repainted, giving it an unmistakably high-quality image.

We also took a tour of the musical instrument storage located behind the stage wings. To protect the delicate instruments, the temperature and humidity inside the room are always controlled at a constant level. In other words, this is "the most comfortable place in the music hall."

This is the waiting room behind the scenes. Why is there a concrete pillar in the middle...? I thought this was a space that was added later. In other words, the pillar that was standing outdoors was taken in. It somehow has a handmade feel to it.

I've been to the music hall many times, but this may be the first time I've seen the stage curtains. Don't say, "Is it necessary?" There is a deep reason behind this.
The music hall was planned shortly after the war. Apparently, some members of the assembly were saying, ``What's the point of having a music hall when we don't even have enough to eat?'' In order to convince those voices, they started talking about creating a public hall that everyone could use, and as a result they decided to add theatrical equipment such as stage curtains and a projection screen.
However, the stage curtain was also designed by Maekawa. This time, it seems to have been updated based on materials from that time, so if you have a chance, be sure to take a look at it up close.

Just as he designed the chairs for the library, Maekawa also designed various fixtures needed for the music hall. For example, a poster display board. The functional and modern design is so nice that you'll want to make it into a miniature and display it on your desk.

I had overlooked it, but the music stand and the chairs the musicians sit on were also designed by Maekawa. A simple chair with no clutter would look good in a stylish cafe.

Finally, take a look back at the foyer after the customers have left.
I love the foyer, which is usually filled with the excitement of a concert and the extraordinary excitement of a concert.
But on days when there are no concerts, I feel happy even in a music hall without sound.

Thank you to everyone from the volunteer group bridge who showed us around. Based on the three keywords of "enjoying," "learning," and "connecting," they offer architectural tours and other activities to help people get familiar with local culture and art.
thank you very much!

The "Maekawa Architectural Tour in Ongakudo" will continue to be held in the future.
This time I participated in a full course (about 60 minutes, participation fee 500 yen).
There is no need to pre-register for the 20-minute short course, and it is free to participate, so feel free to come along!
*For details, please visit the special homepage

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