Gstaad Concert Hall

  17.01.2022 Arts & Culture

Planning for the construction of a multi-purpose infrastructure on the grounds of the Sportzentrum is underway. Gstaad Concert Hall is part of the project and will replace the Menuhin Festival tent. The builder of this sub-project is a foundation set up by the municipality of Saanen. The members of the foundation board are Toni von Grünigen (municipality of Saanen), Marcel Bach (Country Night Gstaad) and Hans-Ueli Tschanz (Gstaad Menuhin Festival & Academy).

The Menuhin Festival Tent is getting on in years. It no longer meets today’s requirements, and maintenance costs are high. With the construction of a multi-purpose infrastructure on the sports centre site, a solution is finally on the horizon. According to a study, the area offers enough space for a new tennis hall and a new multi-purpose concert and cultural hall. If everything goes according to plan, construction of Gstaad Concert Hall should begin in 2025.

Ideal location
The location on the grounds of the Sportzentrum is ideal, explains the president of the municipality, Toni von Grünigen. Various locations were evaluated in recent years. “We evaluated them according to the traffic light system, and the Sportzentrum site was the only one left.” Accessibility from the main road via the roundabout also speaks in favour of this location. The zoning plan was also an important criterion. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to realise such a large project on agricultural land or on a site that is not zoned.

Three elements
The overall project consists of three elements. There is the sports infrastructure with indoor and outdoor tennis courts. The second element is the underground car park, and the third is Gstaad Concert Hall.

The public car park will be built at today’s location of the tennis hall with the Concert Hall on top. The new tennis hall will be lowered and placed lengthways. The three outdoor tennis courts should then be placed on the roof of the tennis hall. The beach volleyball courts will come to stand around the tennis courts. No other additional sports facilities are planned, such as a covered ice rink.

Ownership will be separated between sports and culture. The newly established foundation will own and build the concert hall. The municipality of Saanen and Sportzentrum Gstaad AG respectively will be the owner and builder of the car park and the tennis hall.

The last chance
The Gstaad Menuhin Festival & Academy board of directors is unanimously behind the project. “There is absolute euphoria and unity,” Hans-Ueli Tschanz said. “We are aware that this is our last chance to get a qualitative, infrastructural improvement for our event.” The board is grateful to the municipal council for standing so firmly and resolutely behind this project plan.

According to Marcel Bach, this project also has the potential to guarantee the continuation of Country Night Gstaad, albeit in a somewhat different format.

Around CHF 100m
“We expect the overall project to cost roughly CHF 100m,” von Grünigen replied to the inevitable question about the costs. He said it is difficult to divide the costs among the three sub-elements at this point in time. But the financing is clearly divided: The municipality and Sportzentrum AG finance the sports sector – the tennis hall and the outdoor courts – and the car park, and the foundation finances the cultural sector. For the latter, they hope to get as much support as possible from private donors. Marcel Bach: “Our goal is to raise the CHF 100m together with the municipality as the main partner, with the federal government, the canton and private individuals, plus a fund of CHF 10m to cover any operating deficits for the next ten years.”

Numerous challenges
There is no shortage of challenges, Bach readily admits. The biggest one is – without a doubt – the fundraising. In the next phase, it will be acoustics, aesthetics, and the quality of the construction. Groundwater could also become a challenge.

The schedule is also sporty: if everything goes according to plan, construction of the car park and Gstaad Concert Hall should begin as early as 2025.



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