Luzern Culture and
Congress Center (KKL)
Jean Nouvel 1999
Lucerne's culture and congress
center occupies a large and magnificent central site, facing onto the
lake. From the lake the building is dominant but graceful, its horizontal
profile and gently-sloped roof lying low beneath the mountain backdrop.
From the building, the lake provides stunning views from the balcony -
framed by the dramatic overhanging roof - and through the irregular
windows of the main facade.
The building comprises three
different spaces - a carefully acoustically-engineered concert hall, a
flexible space for concerts and congresses, and an art gallery. Each has a
quite different character architecturally, unified only by the generous
roof and the plaza it covers.
Jean Nouvel's own character is
stamped all over the building: the dazzling white of the concert hall
interior - a spontaneous design change part way through the project, when
he had an 'aesthetic shock' at the site of the unpainted plaster acoustic
tiles; the shallow canals in the atrium floor bringing the lake into the
building (since permission was denied to build the building over the
lake), which are hard to distinguish from the surrounding polished stone
in the dim light, and into which concert-goers have inadvertently stepped;
or the over-generous window panes that are so large as to be unsafe, with
security guards stationed to prevent concert-goers from leaning on them.
Simon Glynn, 2001
How to visit
The Culture and Congress Center
is right next to Lucerne train station (on your right and un-missable as you
come out of the station).
The interior of the building is
normally closed except for concerts and functions. Architectural tours of
the building are available, both in German and in English. For details and
times please call the Center on
+41 41 226 7070 or email email@example.com.