Exterior of the Leipzig Gewandhaus I © iStock - eowyny

Project duration

2018 - 2020


Leipzig, Germany


Concert hall


Stage machinery, customer service

The historical roots of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra go back to 1479. Initially without a home of their own, in 1781 the orchestra was finally given a converted former Gewandhaus (a trading house for cloth merchants), which has retained its traditional name to the present day. In 1884 the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra moved into a newly built concert hall, known as the Neues Gewandhaus. Thanks to the orchestra’s growing importance at home and abroad, a new musical centre was built on Leipzig’s Augustusplatz at the end of the 20th century. The New Opera House was inaugurated in 1960, followed by the Leipzig Gewandhaus in 1981, with seating for 2,100 guests. SBS built the 85 m² stage elevator system consisting of 20 individual podiums for the new building in 1981.

As part of a Europe-wide tender, SBS was awarded the contract in October 2018 to refurbish the stage machinery in two construction phases. The elevator system was extended to an area of 135 m² with a total of 56 individual stage elevators and 12 compensating stage elevators. The special feature here is the relatively small total area with an unusually high number of podiums to allow maximum flexibility of the entire elevator system. The stage machinery had to meet highly demanding specifications in terms of quality and stability. Due to the relatively small footprints of the podiums (between 1.2 and 3.7 m²), it was a considerable technical challenge to achieve a lift of 1.3 m. This was realised by means of several multiple scissors, some of which were placed in a complex spatial configuration. The small size of this stage was also an unusual aspect for SBS.

Following the renovation work during the summer breaks in 2019 and 2020, the Leipzig Gewandhaus now has one of the most flexible podium systems of any concert hall in Europe. On 12 September 2020 the venue celebrated the opening of its 240th season with a concert featuring the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under the baton of Andris Nelsons.

Laying the wooden flooring | © Gert Mothes
Piano elevator | © René Jungnickel
Rigid chain drive | © René Jungnickel
Stage elevators | © Gert Mothes
Rear view of the elevators with scissor legs and rigid chain drive | © René Jungnickel
Auditorium with “vineyard steps” | © René Jungnickel
Stage elevators with rigid chain drive and scissor legs | © Gert Mothes
View of the podium system | © René Jungnickel