A rich and varied opening
For two full days, the Convention Center and Tonhalle introduced themselves afresh to around 5000 guests. Those involved were able to draw upon a variety of resources, offering a cordial welcome in every single nook and cranny of the building: here we have four musicians tuning their stringed instruments and finding the right pitch whilst a visitor rocks her baby in waltz time; even the elderly gentleman with his walking aid is moving along in time with the music.
A pink trail through the building
Look over there, and the pink carpet already entices you to continue into the main hall of the Tonhalle. Visitors whisper excitedly about the colour of the columns, craning their necks to identify the composers depicted on the painted ceiling. The orchestra’s chairs are occupied not by musicians, but for once by members of the public who are listening to their audio guides to gather some background information about the hall.
«The way in which visitors are returning and identifying with the space is fantastic.»
An emotional return
The main hall of the Tonhalle kindles memories and is an emotional experience for many of these guests. Friedemann Dürrschnabel, the Head of Stage Crew, observes the comings and goings. «The way in which visitors are returning and identifying with the space is fantastic.» A young family enters the Tonhalle through a side door, with the boy whispering nervously: «We aren’t allowed to go through here.» Oh yes you are! A colleague nods encouragingly at him. Why are he and his family here? «My partner and I are architects,» says his mother, «and it’s incredibly interesting for us to have this chance to explore the building.»
A striking Kongresssaal
If you look over there, the most beautiful terrace in Zurich is already luring people outside. The motorboat Säntis is just about to dock, and high clouds are towering above the horizon. «We discovered from the newspaper that this event was happening, and we immediately booked tickets because we enjoy going to the Tonhalle so much,» says a woman. Her husband adds: «We also have members of our family who’ve been involved as restorers.» Alone, in couples or small groups, the guests wander from the Tonhalle over the terrace and into the Kongressvestibül and the Kongresssaal itself, where a video of the opening night and a review of important events is running. The sound is rich and powerful, and the Hall makes a striking impression even though it’s empty.
A building for everyone
It’s difficult to decide which target group is interested in the reopening on this glorious weekend: young and old, families and singles, music fans, architecture geeks, and people involved in the restoration who are showing friends and relatives around. «See you am See» appeals to all those people who have made this reopening possible.
Behind the scenes
The magnificent double staircase leads from the foyer back down to the ground floor. Informal groups of Landi chairs recall the early days of the Convention Center. This is where things calm down after the lavishly staged halls on the upper floor: the ground floor allows brief «behind the scenes» glimpses of the commercial-sized kitchen and the energy concept, and offers information provided by the Buildings Department of the City of Zurich and the Cantonal Cultural Heritage Office.
You’re left wanting more
The tour comes to an end, and the Convention Center and Tonhalle face a new beginning – but there’s still time for a burger in the Food Village! «See you am See» has created a sound basis for examining how the building might develop in the future, and has done one thing above all: it has left people wanting more.