Resonate — Architecture Competition by

‘Resonate’: Architecture Competition seeks ideas and projects Design contest for a concert hall in a ghost town held by UNI

Fig: 1 — A gathering to listen to music in early times ( Credits- A.C Mertins)

A space for music

Throughout the history of the world, there exists a clear connection between the development of music and the development of spaces for music. Many cultures over time have established their own spaces to experience music.

For instance, because of political or social factors the early Hindu, Christian and Byzantine religious practices places of worship had transformed into primary vestiges. These spaces were used for the advancement of scholarly knowledge and the creative arts.

As a result, music-centered on and in these sacred spaces became prominent and paved a way for music to prosper.

Further, as the elitism around music decreased and its scope increased, common and accessible spaces of huge open-air auditoriums or theatres started rising. The magical communion between both forms in such spaces was evident through their acoustical design and structural integrity. Even today they act as an inspiration for contemporary theatres and concert halls.

Fig: 2 — Orchestra practicing in an opera house (Credits-Manuel Nageli)

The union of music and architecture

The art of music gives a direct relation between the sensitive affections of both the composer and the listener. Therefore, music is the strongest art form that allows an individual to translate their emotional state into a constructed and beautiful way. While music is an intangible feeling which cannot be decoded, architecture is a tangible form of expression. It is a point of union between the theory/emotions and a practical, more constructive approach towards society.

Translation of ideas and emotions are parallel in more ways than one in music and architecture. Texture, harmony, proportion, rhythm, and dynamics are all tied together, in buildings as well as songs.

Moreover, the same as music, architecture is something that has evolved through the ages but remains relevant to the space it resides in.

Can this connection between them be celebrated for what it was and is?

Fig: 3 — Ghost town of Calabria (Credits-Itlay Review)

Ghost towns

A ghost town is an abandoned city/town/village, usually, that has ruins or completed buildings and basic infrastructure. They are poetic reminders of community, industries, and thriving populations.

A town becomes a ghost town because the economic and social infrastructure that supports it fails or is due to prolonged drought, floods, or nuclear disasters. Many also have mysterious associations and some stand in the hope to be colonized again.

There are about 3800 ghost towns in America due to westward expansion, mining, and industrialization between 1880–1940 and about 50 well-planned abandoned ghost towns in China, followed by other countries with abandoned historic towns. Can we design something for such desolate places by adding a new but relevant quality to it?

The atmosphere of such towns makes it somewhat of a relic, a relic waiting to be enhanced and celebrated.

Fig: 4 — An open orchestra at Yosemite National Park

Brief of the competition

Most of the towns being remote are unexplored, but since the last decade, the trend of exploring ghost towns has increased.

Some tourism initiatives have indeed tried to redevelop these towns for responsible tourism. While tourism is a good idea to enhance the towns, can something more physical and equally influential be added to the towns?

One through physical manifestations and the other through sensory/emotional manifestation. Music and architecture have enhanced our society for centuries.

Is it possible for these typologies to manifest something extraordinary in a ghost town by bringing back life to its empty streets?

Brief: The challenge is to design a semi-open concert hall in the historic setting of a ghost town.

Design objectives

  • Adaptable: The design should adapt to the regional context.
  • Re-use: Participants can re-use but can’t reform the structures for the design.
  • Materials: Use of locally available and responsible materials.
  • Balance: Maintain a balance between built and open space.
  • Amenities/Services: Design taking into account the services needed for performers and people attending the concert.

The following objectives can be a point of beginning to conceive this design. Designed for a seating capacity of 500 people, participants can form their program outline on this basis.


Fig: 4 — Site image
  • Location: Carco, Italy
  • Area: 1339 sq.m
  • Height restriction: 10 meters
  • Maximum Built-Up Area: 1339 sq.m
  • Ground coverage: 30%
  • Contours and Setbacks are provided in the CAD plan.
  • Coordinates: 40°22'39.4"N 16°26'24.8"E

Carco was founded in the 8th century and was a brilliant survivor of nature, but eventually caved in because of earthquakes and landslides. The village sits on a cliff 400 meters off the ground. With beautiful views, the city even without residents stands as a monument of medieval architecture through the ages. The ghost town is famous as a backdrop for Passion of Christ and many other Italian television shows.

Designing a concert hall on a backdrop of such a historically rich ghost town, will not only enhance the inherent alleys and streets of the town but will also enable participants to re-imagine the typology of a concert hall in such a natural setting.

Find all the competition brief, terms, and other registration guidelines on this

page: Resonate | Cultural Architecture Competition on UNI | About

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