The new round venue of Palanga

The new round venue of Palanga invites productions to Lithuania

The town of Palanga is a popular holiday resort in Lithuania, on the Baltic coast. 18 kilometres of sandy beach, multiple cafes, bars and the carnivals on Jonas Basanavičius promenade bring in the tourists. On a city of 15 000 inhabitants the visitors are an important part of street life. During holiday season Palanga International Airport is busy with travellers from Poland, Scandinavia, Germany and United Kingdom.

Something new in the summer town

Concerts are an important attraction for many travellers and as the new concert hall finished at the end of 2015 replaces the partly open summer arena, the season can extend to winter, too. The fathers of Palanga city are enthusiastic that the new landmark will find its clientele all the year round. Ambitious and expansive project was not wholly without its problems, and both Henrik Möller and Gerda Kaasik from Akukon had to solve several issues until the 2200-seat round concert hall designed by Algirdas Stripinis at Uostamisčio Projektas architects was ready to open its doors to the public.

Palanga concert arena

"The size and form of the circular hall are more reminiscent of a sports arena, which is not ideal when the aim is to get an acoustically functioning space" reminds Akukon designer Henrik Möller. "The main aim for an Acoustic Designer when encountering a space this shape and size is to first set to avoid all unwanted reflections, and only after that to create a suitable amplification of wanted reflections."

Acoustic challenge of a circle

Problems can be spotted beforehand through extensive modelling, and the venue was modeled with both Odeon and Dietsch Ekko analyses. The round shape poses several difficult factors especially when dealing with performances not electrically amplified. The other uses of the building such as with theater performances and as a congress venue can be solved through minimising the echo, but concerts demanded building an artificial acoustic entity based on 8 microphones and 112 speakers.

In what passes as the rear wall in the circular construction the structure is both dampening and diffusing even to the lower- and suboctaves. Both the walls and the ceiling carry a rockwool dampening under a perforated surface, on the stage the dampening curtains and the floated wooden floor help minimise the unwanted noise. The soft padded seats affect the acoustics, and the steep angle the rows are placed helps with focusing issues.

Thus has Palanga received its distinguished concert arena to vitalize cultural life of the city around the year. Plans concerning chamber orchestras, marching bands, television and media productions and many other activities brought to the audience of Palanga are en route, and the multi-faceted rich history of Palanga turning the leaf into a new chapter.

Architect Algirdas Stripinis
Akukon team of Experts Henrik Möller and Gerda Kaasik

Text: Kivi Larmola

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