Fernando Menis combines crushed brickwork and concrete for cavernous concert hall in Poland

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Tenerife architect Fernando Menis claims to have developed a new construction technique, demonstrated by this concert hall in Poland featuring faceted surfaces of crushed brick and concrete (+ slideshow).

CKK Jordanki by Fernando Menis

Fernando Menis mixed concrete and broken red brick – a technique he calls picado – to create the cave-like interior of the CKK Jordanki concert hall, which is intended to provide optimum acoustics during music performances.

CKK Jordanki by Fernando Menis

"Besides achieving a rough expression, the picado allows excellent acoustics results," said Menis, who first experimented with the technique for the Tenerife-based Magma Art & Congress in 2005.

"The expression is more convincing, forceful and precise, the outcome has been finely tuned through advanced research."

CKK Jordanki by Fernando Menis

"Thanks to its dynamic ceiling, the building can be tuned to effectively absorb symphonic performances, chamber, theatre, opera, and film and meet any acoustic requirements the theatre designer requires," he added.



Menis won a competition to design the 21,800-square-metre concert hall for the UNESCO-protected town of Toruń in 2008. The proposal also won first place in the Future Projects: Cultural category at the World Architecture Festival in 2010.

CKK Jordanki by Fernando Menis

Set between the medieval and new parts of the town, the building's small stature is intended to help it blend with the scale of existing architecture, while an arc of greenery retains views to a river.

CKK Jordanki by Fernando Menis

Cutaways in the facades allow areas of the venue's red brick lining to peep from beneath the pale concrete shell – a reference to the traditional brick properties in the town's historic centre.

CKK Jordanki by Fernando Menis

Menis likens this feature to the experience of eating Zurek – a popular soup dish in Poland that is served in a hollowed loaf.

"While the concert hall's outer skin remains rigid, inside, the building acts like a fluid that brings together the different functions, its many different co-existing elements, slowly combining them and playing off each other," he said. "The visual effect achieved is that of a natural object, a rock."

CKK Jordanki by Fernando Menis

Partition walls and removable seats mean the two concert halls within can be joined or separated to suit type different types of performance or for larger spectator numbers.

CKK Jordanki by Fernando Menis

"I wanted to make an auditorium that has the best efficiency possible, one that can adapt to different events and various capacities for public, and even to be able to house several independent acts simultaneously," said Menis. "It may change from performance to performance, like a sponge."

CKK Jordanki by Fernando Menis

The stage can be opened onto the park for outdoor performances and concerts during larger gatherings.

CKK Jordanki by Fernando Menis

Fernando Menis founded his Tenerife-based studio in 2010. Past projects by the office include a church lined with crushed volcanic rocks and an underground museum with a public square on top.

Photography is by Jakub Certowicz.


Project credits:

Architect: Fernando Menis
Architects collaborators: Karolina Mysiak, Jaume Cassanyer, Javier Espílez
Collaborators for draft design stage: José Antonio Franco (Martínez Segovia y Asociados) for structure; José Luis Tamayo for stage equipment, Pedro Cerdá for acoustics
Team in Poland: Jacek Lenart (Studio A4 Spółka Projektowa)
Supervising architect: Tomasz Pulajew (Fort Polska Sp) for structure; Pedro Cerdá for acoustics
Collaborators for design stage in Poland: Elseco Sp for electricity; Iskierski Mariusz Biuro Inżynierskie for installations; Pracownia Architektury i Urbanistyki SEMI for planning

CKK Jordanki by Fernando Menis
Ground floor plan – click for larger image
CKK Jordanki by Fernando Menis
First floor plan – click for larger image
CKK Jordanki by Fernando Menis
Third floor plan – click for larger image
CKK Jordanki by Fernando Menis
Roof plan – click for larger image
CKK Jordanki by Fernando Menis
Long section one – click for larger image
CKK Jordanki by Fernando Menis
Long section two – click for larger image
CKK Jordanki by Fernando Menis
Long section three – click for larger image
CKK Jordanki by Fernando Menis
Cross section – click for larger image
  • Michael Swanson

    When I see what Mr Menis has done, the word FUN comes to mind.

    • slab

      I think of “self-important”, “bunker” and “brutal”.

  • Jess Thinkin

    WOW! Don’t know how the surfaces will look (or feel) up close, nor do I know how it will function as an acoustical venue, but the photos and their perspectives certainly depict an architectural ‘near’ tour de force.

  • Granero

    How is this done exactly? The broken brick pieces go into the form work, I assume, but how do they keep them in place while casting the concrete?

    • Guest

      They keep the whole lot vibrating to a Prince track. That one with lots of bass. Or so I’ve been told.

  • Doubtful dodger

    A new construction technique? Really?

    • Jess Thinkin

      Yeah, ‘in-doubt’. Although, I guess you could call it ‘upside-down terrazzo’ writ large.

  • dfav

    I’m not so sure I love the look of it, but I really respect the accomplishment and bravery in the design though.

  • Hej!

    Ugly exteriors.

  • Hej!

    Ugly exteriors.

  • Hej!

    This is typical of modern Polish architecture. The Polish want to show the world that they are a western country, so they build excessive buildings. I don’t really like it.

    • Natalia

      Why would you say that, are you Polish? It is not excessive. This is a concert hall, it is meant to be spectacular.

      • M.L.

        It’s interesting to claim that there are functions that are “meant to look spectacular”.

        Apart from a fun fair, I’d say the ‘spectacularity’ is as often considered a “fashion-faux-pas” as it is fashionable. I guess we’re in-between-waves at the moment.

        About Polish excessiveness, I have to say that the Szczecin Philharmonic Hall impressed a lot of people by being surprisingly excessive compared to similar buildings in Paris and Hamburg. And 10 to 25 times cheaper.

  • KuriousOranj

    A striking building with some beautiful moments.

  • Nguyen Nam Khanh

    I think I have seen some influence from Gaudi in his architecture.