New Opera House

Florence - Italy


  • Culture


  • Florence - Italy


  • 2007 - 2011 (mechanical system of the stage tower, 2014; new Zubin Metha concert hall, 2021)


  • Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers 


  • Preliminary and final design, working drawings


  • 137 M euro


  • 3.3 ha - 40,000 m2

The project was called upon to realise the new Theatre of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, a cultural institution in the city, so-named after the Italian oldest opera, symphony and concert festival. Among the purposes, even the regeneration of the area, undergoing strong development, between the historic centre of Florence and the 20th-century urban context.

The location of the New Auditorium has an important role in integrating two different areas of the city: the green area and the built one. At the urban scale, the project aims to make an efficient reconnection between the city and the Parco delle Cascine while increasing available public spaces. The creation of a new system of open pedestrian areas defines the two auditorium volumes, the concert hall (1.800 seats) and the symphony hall (1.000 seats). Both volumes, as well as the massive sloping basement, which contains the technical and logistical services of the auditorium, offer habitable roofs; veritable mineral gardens designed to host the outdoor activities of the cultural festival which is traditionally held in spring and early summer.

Read more

The roof of the Opera Hall hosts the open-air cavea; above the hall for concerts and chamber music there is the extraordinary permanent land art installation "PROSPECTS WITH HORIZONS" by the artist Alfredo Pirri; the basement provides ample terraces to accommodate the dehors of the restaurant and the cafeteria, as well as offering an extraordinary Belvedere over the Cascine Park behind the complex. The whole area expressly dedicated to music describes a project of great urban and landscape value, a system of terraces and squares that is distinctly "Tuscan", designed for being connected on an urban, architectural and perceptual level with the immediate surrounding buildings, the city of Florence and the landscape. In the local context, the project is designed to be a cultural complex on a European level, the Music and Culture Park, wherein the auditorium monumental volumes and the connected services with the important preexisting buildings (the former Leopolda Station, the railway area of the former Officine Grandi Riparazioni and the former Manifattura Tabacchi nearby) want to create a new urban pole for musical, cultural and tourist activities. On the architectural scale, the new Auditorium ensures the highest quality required for a modern musical complex, through extremely elevated performance levels for opera, concert, chamber and rock music within a real multifunctional flexible place of great potential. The concept is the result of pure architecture: a wide basement or a sort of sloping plinth holding two large marble blocks (the two music halls) and the enigmatic volume of the scene tower behind the main hall. A monumental project measured by a number of internal and external people-oriented paths. This element with its simple and regular shape is conceived as a presence in contrast with the marble of the rest of the complex; a cladding of dry mounted terracotta strips suggests, in fact, the disintegration of the compact material during the day, while becoming a large urban lantern at night: a landmark also visible from the surrounding landscape of the Florentine hills. As for the interiors, research applied to creativity has led to the acoustic improvement of the rooms through two different uses of forms and materials. In the large hall, a stretched metal mesh covering allows the sound waves to cross the void, restoring the best conditions for enjoying the music and offering an iconic and monumental image of the space at the same time; in the concert hall, the covering with molded Okumè wood panels reinterprets the tradition of violin making, constituting a true high-performance sound box.