LOCATION Krakow, Poland
YEAR 2016
THEME Architecture, Education spaces, Music Academy
STATUS International competition
DESIGNERS Antonio Monestiroli, Tomaso Monestiroli, Luca Cardani, Raffaella Neri, Giovanni Uboldi 

The proximity of the Vistula River and a large wooded area resulting from the dismantling of fortifications outside the city make the project area an extraordinary place to build the new Krakow Academy of Music in a setting dominated by nature. We believe that the theme of the relationship with nature is the main theme of our time and should influence the form of the city and the architecture that determines it. This is to say that the occasion of the competition is not only to design a school but to define a hypothesis for the growth of the city that includes natural places. The characteristics of the site and the shape of the lot strongly affected the layout.

The first choice was not to concentrate the Academy of Music in a single building but to articulate it into five separate buildings, aligned following the contour of the lot with a westward facing towards the future urban park, which also determines the typology of the buildings and the arrangement of public paths and roadways. The public auditorium and library buildings are arranged in the center of the linear system at the point where the project area changes direction. These buildings adapt to the rotation of the lot by creating, at the inflection point, a central place from which two wings open, defined by the in-line buildings of the school and rectory. This creates a formal hierarchy between the two buildings open to the public and those intended for the school. The music school building is located to the north as the first architecture of the complex reached by the access road. It consists of an in-line building, which contains the teaching spaces, and
by the four special rehearsal rooms arranged toward the park. The relationship between these parts is enhanced by the construction: the linear building is built of iron and glass to ensure a continuous relationship with nature, while the special classrooms are clad in exposed brick, in keeping with a building tradition very much present in Krakow. The auditorium and library have a perimeter of deep pillars clad in brick to emphasize their public purpose and civic value, defining the most important public place in the complex where the school and city communities gather. Near this place two small towers, intended for guest and student apartments, mark its role at a distance. From this junction point develops in the other direction the rectory, which has the same typology and construction mode as the music school.
To conclude the sequence, near the Vistula River, a steel-built belvedere tower leads to the 25-meter elevation from where it is possible to view the landscape all the way to the historic city of Krakow. It is said that one of the phenomena that unites music and architecture is rhythm. So we thought of entrusting the rhythm of the facades with the analogy of musical rhythm. This was made possible by bringing the load-bearing elements of the buildings to the facade, which will show up in different perspectives according to the variations in orientation of each of them. The buildings are built side by side, but they all have an iron balcony at the height of 8 meters, which emphasizes the succession and suggests their unity despite their singularity.


L. Cardani (edit by) Studio Monestiroli  Opere e progetti di Architettura Electa Milan 2021

S. della Torre, M. Bocciarelli, L. Daglio, R. Neri (edit by)  
Buildings for Education. A multidisciplinary overview of the design of School Buildings Springer International Publishing 2020

C. Simioni, A. Tognon (edit by) 
La città. Progetti urbani – Die stadt. Städtische projekte  
Aiòn Edizioni Florence 2017