A home for Olsztyn’s philharmonic orchestra

After 65 years without a headquarters, the Feliks Nowowiejski Warmia and Masuria Philharmonic has a permanent home in the Polish city of Olsztyn. Opened in September 2011, the striking stone and glass building can accommodate up to 505 concertgoers in a state-of-the art concert hall and provides extensive additional music facilities, to enrich local cultural life, expand tourism and increase the region’s attractiveness.

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Violin © Creative Commons Violin © Creative Commons

" This project played a very important part in helping people identify with the developments made in their city and region. "

Piotr Sułkowski, Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Feliks Nowowiejski Warmia and Masuria Philharmonic in Olsztyn

As well as providing a base for the orchestra, which is named after the noted Olsztyn-born composer Feliks Nowowiejski, the building provides artistic opportunities for the Warmia and Masuria region’s residents.  With a total surface area of almost 13 000 m2, over five floors, the scale of the new building makes it suitable for major events that bring some of Poland and the world’s best musicians to the region, who can prepare in modern rehearsal and dressing areas. The region’s community can also use these facilities for amateur music-making, which enables residents – and students in particular – to discover new leisure interests, develop artistic passions and nurture their talents.

Architectural appeal

Large reception and catering areas make the centre an attractive venue for events, while a studio equipped with professional-standard recording and sound mixing equipment allows the headquarters to produce high-quality albums of its concerts. And every few weeks the concert hall becomes a cinema, broadcasting concerts from the New York Metropolitan Opera via its own three-metre satellite dish.

Externally, the building enhances the local cityscape. It has a minimalist design, softened with warm stone cladding and a fountain at its entrance. Three floors are overground, and two underground, for a height that harmonises with surrounding structures.  

Inside, wooden features create a modern, welcoming feel. The comfortable audience and visitor spaces include adaptations for people with disabilities. An underground corridor also connects the headquarters directly with the city’s music school next door to give students convenient access to its facilities

Cultural enhancement

The building has been well-received locally. Almost a thousand people came to visit on the first day it opened to the public. Since its opening, it has allowed the orchestra to provide many more concerts than before, with a corresponding dramatic increase in attendance. In its first season in 2011 after the opening, 120 concerts were organised, attracting 42 000 concertgoers in total, compared to 38 concerts in the season before, which attracted 11 500 music lovers.

The new headquarters has created 17 direct jobs, and created opportunities for many more performers and technicians. It looks forward to further strengthening Olsztyn as a cultural centre for the region and beyond.

Total investment and EU funding 

Total investment for the project “Filharmonia w Olsztynie: Budowa nowej siedziby Warmińsko-Mazurskiej Filharmonii w Olsztynie” is 63 896 820 zł, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing 42 864 776 zł through the “Warminsko-Mazurskie” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.

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