The Philharmonie is located on the Kirchberg plateau, at the center of a triangular square surrounded by EU administrative offices. Christian de Portzamparc wanted to plant a ring of trees which it would be necessary to cross in order to enter the complex devoted to music, encouraging visitors to forget their surroundings. There was not enough room to plant trees, so he rapidly came up with the idea of a vast peristyle composed of 827 vertical lines constituting a foyer around the Grand Auditorium. It filters the light, enabling the public to either see or forget their surroundings. This façade-filter envelopes the lobby, which forms a long peristyle surrounding the concert hall and boxes.
The section around the great hall resembles “cliffs” punctuated by strips of light through which the public enters the concert hall balconies at different levels via a long footbridge. The Grand Auditorium has eight balcony-towers placed vertically around the orchestra and orchestra pit. Thus, the audience is gathered around the musicians. The Chamber Music Hall is a volume forming an asymmetrical curved petal winding around the main building.
Both innovative halls have been praised for their acoustic qualities by leading musicians and conductors, including Ricardo Mutti, Claudio Abbado and Jean-Claude Casadesus.