Fabric ceiling transforms a school gym

Arcus Temporum XI, a three-day spiritual exercise blending music, theater and art, focused on the theme “a search for place” during the August 2012 event. The festival site, the Archabbey of Pannonhalma, Hungary, is a historic monument with a breathtaking view of Lake Balaton—and a boarding school gym that had to serve as a concert hall for guest composers from around the world. Four Hungarian architects transformed the spacious gym into floating layers of fabric that concealed the utilitarian, enhanced the spiritual and even improved the acoustics.

The structure consisted of a system of moving, translucent polypropylene nonwoven geotextile fabric panels and a geometric grid of point lights. The panels conceal the gym’s beams and walls, while blurring the room’s borders. The lights are hidden in the waving textile layers above the auditorium and exposed above the stage, bringing the musicians into focus. “The hanging ribs [acted] by damping the sharp reflecting sounds and dispersing them through space,” according to the architects, Dániel Baló, Dániel Eke, István Varga and Zoltán Kalászi, students at the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design. The interaction of light, moving fabric and music turned a gym into a contemplative experience.


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