Snøhetta designed the Tuballoon to serve as the main stage at Scandinavia’s reputable Kongsberg Jazz Festival. The annual musical event is one of the oldest and most highly regarded festivals in Europe, headlining acts from the international jazz scene. The mounting of Tuballoon recurs annually and stands for three weeks time before returning to storage in standard containers for the rest of the year. The pneumatic tension membrane structure measures 20 meters in height and approx. 40 meters in length. The structure seems poised to break away and drift skyward from the tethers which hold fast to its historic site. Its geometry is suggestive of natural acoustic forms such as musical wind instruments and geometries of the inner ear.
Acoustically, the Tubaloon is a dynamic and tuneable venue. The form provides a classic clamshell-like shaping over the audience to keep quiet performances intimate while the PVC fabric construction is nearly transparent to sound during amplified performances. The low profile to amplification means that the performances can be controlled simply through the sound mix. An element of chance is introduced by the horn-like opening above the stage. Its orations are encouraged to exit unpredictably out into the surrounding townscape.
Preliminary hand sketches shows the bone-like form of initial studies.
Digital models were used to refine the form an create a buildable and functional frame for the structure.
The pneumatic and tensile structure is quickly erected and hoisted into place only during the festival program.
The main tubular frame can be disassembled and crated along with the textile covering.