KKL Luzern
Das Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern

Text & Photo © KKL Luzern, Switzerland

KKL Luzern


The French architect Jean Nouvel designed the KKL Luzern and built it according to his plans between 1995 and 2000. His Jean Nouvel practice in Paris is active throughout the world. His projects include museums, convention centres, concert halls, prestigious office buildings and residential buildings. Nouvel is one of the leading architects of our time. In June 2008, in Washington D.C., he was awarded the Pritzker Prize. Awarded for the thirtieth time, this is the highest award available to architects and is regarded as the 'Nobel Prize for Architecture'.




New Yorker Russell Johnson (1924-2007) was responsible for the acoustics. For more than three decades he carried out projects around the world with his artec-Gruppe(artec = art and technology) and was regarded as one of the leading professional acousticians. Despite all the fame, the KKL Luzern was a milestone for him: 'The Lucerne Hall is the descendant of 40 to 50 predecessors that I've built since 1956. Almost all my work achievements are grouped together in this'.The aim was to create an acoustic that best brings to life the entire musical repertoire, from the middle ages to modern sounds".

"The optimum acoustics are achieved by the height, width and length being in a 1:1:2 ratio. This is all about the time-tested «shoebox» principle. In the case of the Concert Hall, these are 22m – 22m – 46 m. The large 19,000 m3 dimensions of the Hall gives enough space and creates a soft, round finish. A further acoustic element is the approximately 24,000 square plaster reliefs that are each 20cm in length. The textured plastered surfaces break the reflection of the sound, multiplying it and distributing it in all directions.

The Echo chamber is a large, connected, hollow space that surrounds the Concert Hall in its upper echelons. It opens by way of 50 electronically controllable concrete doors. By making use of it, the volume of the Hall can be increased by 6,000m3 from 19,000m3. Through opening the doors to different extents, the sound can be varied and the reverberation time adjusted and extended by up to 3 seconds. Further regulation of the reverberation time is made possible by the use of curtains. If the reflective zones are evenly covered, the reverberation time will be reduced and the acoustics will dry out. This property is required when spoken word events, jazz and pop concerts take place.

Text & Photos © KKL Luzern, Switzerland