Cyprus to get concert hall

Cyprus has taken a further step toward acquiring its own Megaron Mousikis (concert hall), following the completion of an international architectural competition won by Sir Michael Hopkins, an architect knighted for his achievements in the field. Hopkins and his associates are world-renowned for their projects, which include the UK’s Glyndebourne Opera House and a recently built UK Parliament building, Portcullis House. Hopkins and his associates, one of eight contestants in the competition, were awarded the project by unanimous decision. The competition’s jury reported being impressed by the winning proposal’s overall balance in details, including its harmony with the surrounding area, where a planned parliamentary building may also be sited. The jury also underlined the winning bid’s ingenuity, elegance and dynamic sensitivity, both interior and exterior, as factors in its decision. The Cyprus Cultural Megaron, as the new concert hall will be named, plans to host both state-sponsored and private events. The venue will be partly managed by the state. It will be located in Nicosia’s downtown Archigrammmateia district, where various government services – housed mostly in prefabricated buildings dating back to the days of British rule – are currently based. The venue, which will comprise a complex of state-of-the-art concert halls and peripheral facilities, will be fully equipped to host the most demanding of productions, be they domestic or imported. The main concert hall, a 1,400-capacity structure, will be suitable for hosting symphony orchestras, opera productions, ballets and other large-scale events. Also incorporated in the project will be a smaller, 500-capacity room for chamber music, dance events and smaller concerts in general. The project is expected to be completed in five years. The concert hall is part of a wider government program aimed at enriching the infrastructure of the Mediterranean country’s cultural landscape. Considering the cultural reality on Cyprus, where interest in the type of events to be hosted at the venue is limited to a relatively small group, this ambitious project comes as something of a surprise. Meanwhile, the country is in urgent need of a new archaeological museum. Many of Cyprus’s most important antiquities are presently crammed into an inadequate building built in the days of British rule.

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