The National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra

Katowice, Poland

The new home of the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra is one of the most cutting-edge and distinguished cultural sector investments in Poland. This world class, 25,000m2 concert hall can house an audience of almost 1,800, and the acoustics meet the highest standards as set out by renowned consulting firm, Nagata Acoustics.


A key requirement was to deliver structural and mechanical engineering solutions to meet the strict acoustic requirements for the Orchestra building, while ensuring the internal environment was comfortable for the audience. The need to provide the best possible standard of acoustic performance also shaped the internal layout of the building.

The Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra project was the biggest and the most difficult challenge in the history of our studio. This is why, it was clear we should partner with the best designers in every discipline. Buro Happold, responsible for structural and building services design, not only brought a team of great experts, but also a wealth of experience in similar buildings around the world

Tomasz Konior, Konior Studio
Image: Daniel Rumiancew


To reduce the effect of noise, we located the ventilation units outside of the building and employed specially designed wooden displacement air diffusers inside the concert hall. Our decision to locate utility supply pipes and cables within facade pilasters also ensures that sound distribution from one room to another is reduced to a minimum.

The concert hall is insulated by the surrounding atrium and auxiliary rooms, which include rehearsal spaces, dressing rooms and a chamber room to seat 300. To further enhance sound insulation, all the walls and the roofing have been created using reinforced concrete, the designers using a black tinted version for the concert hall walls in fitting reference to the Silesian mining tradition.

Our specialist team also developed and applied solutions to enable strict air humidity control in the concert hall, crucial to a venue such as this where the delicate nature of the instruments housed there must be considered.

Image: Daniel Rumiancew
At every stage of this project, we devised intelligent engineering solutions to support the visual aesthetic and aural quality of the venue. Image: Daniel Rumiancew

A stand out structure feature is the extremely impressive spherical wall which towers over the atrium. This complicated shape was only made possible by a series of complex engineering solutions. These included building the wall in several stages, even the special concrete mixture was developed by Buro Happold in collaboration with the contractor.

Zbigniew Czajewski, Partner


Throughout this project, our engineers conceived and implemented imaginative strategies that supported both the visual aesthetic and auditory experience of this venue, resulting in a new home for the orchestra that offers a feast for all the senses.

Delivering a world class concert hall for the National Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra, and creating a distinguished musical venue for Poland. Image: Bartek Barczyk

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