The Glasshouse International Centre for Music

Original seats for one of the best auditoriums in the world



The Glasshouse International Centre for Music is one of the greatest cultural centres in the UK and one of the most renowned internationally. Inaugurated in 2004 and designed by Foster+Partners has a surface of 20,000 square metres. This was the first Performing Arts Centre by this architecture studio which even before its opening was already awarded.

The main hall, with 1,650 seaters, was fitted with a chair designed especially by the architect and made by Figueras. Made using the same colour and materials as the space, the chair has 1,650 variations, as many as there are seats in the auditorium.

This inspiring hall was recognized as one of the top-five auditoria in the world.

Project Name: The Glasshouse International Centre for Music
Year of Development: 2004
Country: United Kingdom
Location: Gateshead, Newcastle
Seats: Bespoke model Arch. Foster+Partners
Capacity: 1.650
Segments: Made to Measure
Venues: Performing Arts Centres, Theatres
Architecture: Foster & Partners

Installed Seats

Installed Systems

Case Study

The unmistakable style of Foster + Partners for one of the world’s best auditoria

The Glasshouse International Centre for Music has found its place as one of the UK’s most emblematic buildings. The pride of the new Gateshead stands on the south bank of the River Tyne, adjacent to the Stirling Prize–winning Millennium Bridge and the Tyne Bridge. The shell-like form of the roof, covered in 250 glass panels, makes the building one that’s clearly recognisable at first glance, but it’s also a perfect example of how to meet the cultural needs of a 21st-century city.

Foster + Partners created a building with three separate acoustically insulated auditoria and a twenty-five room Music Education Centre. The glass and steel shell extends over the foyer and hospitality areas shared by the three auditoria, each of which is designed to accommodate a different type of performance.

Product supplied

The largest performance space, recognized as one of the top five auditoria in the world, is a 1650-seat hall furnished with a seat designed especially by Norman Foster and made by Figueras. The model that emerged from this collaboration is an integral part of the space it was designed for. Made using the same colour and materials as the hall, the 137 Foster seat has 1650 variations, as many as there are seats in the auditorium.

Each seat adapts to its position in the space to ensure an optimal view and listening experience for every audience member. The height varies and the base of each unit is adjusted to the slight curvature of the floor surface. One of the model’s unique features is a special pedestal that incorporates an air-conditioning vent. Conditioned air surrounds the occupant, considerably reducing energy consumption.


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