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Oscar Niemeyer Auditorium in Ravello

"It's not the perfect angle that attracts me, and not even the straight, hard, inflexible man-made one. What really attracts me is the free and sensual curve. The curve that represents the meeting of the mountains of my homeland, the figure of a beautiful woman, the clouds of the sky and the waves of the sea. The same curves which create the Universe. The curved Universe of Einstein. "
(Oscar Niemeyer)

The auditorium of Ravello is set in a natural slope of the Amalfi Coast and, from a height of 365 meters above sea level, it enjoys a unique view of the Divine coastline. Although the "City of Music" features several beautiful outdoor venues (but with not more than a hundred seat capacity) to attend concerts, dance performances and plays, such as: Villa Rufolo, Villa Cimbrone, Piazza Duomo and Piazza San Giovanni del Toro, it felt the need to provide itself with a new structure, allowing it to extend the concert series all year round, and, secondly, allowing it to host a greater number of fans and admirers.
The project was assigned to the famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, and delivered, along with a plastic, on September 23rd 2000, after more than seventy days of work. From the beginning, in fact, the architect found himself in front of problems related to natural unevenness of the terrain "... the uneven ground, narrow with a very strong transverse orientation. Hence the initiative to build a model." and more: " ... I did not think about an expensive operation, that could involve an unnatural development of the land, not needed, so I took as a starting point the exact inclination of the parterre and the project started to take its present shape".
The architecture of Ravello has Roman and Medieval roots and is strongly characterized by architectural elements typical of such periods, such as arched windows, columns, arches, etc.. So the first obstacle to overcome was just to design a structure that was not in conflict with the architectural identity of Ravello and the Amalfi Coast. Its auditorium, in fact, represents a cornerstone in aesthetic and cultural modernization of the countryside, proposing salient and characterizing points (the curved line and the predominant white color).
The Auditorium is accessed by an oblong square, which allows its visitors to enjoy, at the same time, the amazing landscape and the particular exterior of the building. The main concert hall takes advantage of the natural slope of the land, while the orchestra stand and the foyer are projecting boldly into the void, like the spectacular stage of Villa Rufolo, but without a visible support. Perfection is ensured by the concave shaped building, similar to the perfect sounding board of a mandolin, and the landscape continues to be enjoyable thanks to the large access window and the large porthole located behind the orchestra.


(photo by Andrea e Umberto Gallucci)

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