2506 m3 of radical resonance
After years of searching, Ensemble Resonanz has found a new home in the bunker in Hamburg's Feldstraße. Situated right in the heart of St. Pauli, the resonanzraum - or room for resonance - is simultaneously the Ensemble's rehearsal room and a space for experimenting with new concert ideas.
Designed by the architects pfp architekten hamburg, with input from the musicians themselves, the room, which is enclosed by 4-metre thick concrete walls, artfully showcases urban architecture and elements of club culture and combines them with excellent acoustics. It recasts the traditional concert hall as a space where music can be experienced without inhibitions.
As well as hosting the Ensemble's monthly »urban string« concerts, where chamber music meets electronic art, the room is also used for external events, musical and otherwise, and can even be hired by companies or individuals looking for a unique location to hold a reception or party.
The Feldstraße bunker in St. Pauli is one of the largest multi-storey air raid shelters in Europe, and at 39 metres certainly the highest in Hamburg. It was built in 1942 in just 300 days under Albert Speer, and during World War II offered protection to up to 25,000 people. After the war, it was converted largely out of necessity, for as Ulrich Stock reports, writing in die ZEIT, »in 1954 it was impossible to blow the shelter up, because half of St. Pauli would have been blown up with it.«
Today it is home to a wide variety of institutions, associations and initiatives, various educational establishments and nightclubs moved into the bunker. It provides the perfect surroundings for a concert hall, supplying inspiration and creating numerous synergy effects. Situated between the Schanzenviertel, Karolinenviertel and St. Pauli districts, and overlooking the stadium and the Dom fairground, the bunker is rooted right in the middle of the city's urban centre, and, as a breeding ground for new ideas, makes a major contribution to Hamburg's cultural life.
The resonanzraum was designed by a team led by Professor Jörg Friedrich (pfp architekten). It was financed by a board of private patrons, Hamburg's department of culture, various foundations and some private companies. A tenancy agreement was signed at the beginning of 2014, and the conversion of the former printworks was able to begin.
Large revolvable iron doors control the room's acoustics and provide a high level of freedom and flexibility with regard to the way the venue is used. Bare concrete walls are testament to its history, while the large, luminous bar, warm wooden flooring and openness of the room make it both inviting and inspiring. According to Professor Friedrich, the architects strove in everything for »authenticity, minimalism and reduction«. The lighting concept was also developed especially for the room by Heinz Kasper and is one of its most interesting features. Large ring lights and an impressive chandelier made of 270 plastic bottles provide an organic contrast to the angular architecture and echo the splendour of traditional concert halls - reinterpreted in a contemporary way.
The resonanzraum bar forms the centrepiece of the room and is run by Ensemble Resonanz itself. It offers a changing selection of drinks developed by the musicians which ranges from homemade lemonades to good wines and Laphroig. If there's anything special you'd like, just let the bar crew know. All the takings from the bar go straight towards funding the Ensemble and its projects. Cheers!