Bob Essert Founding Director

BSc Engineering and Music, Yale University, USA (1978)
MSc Mechanical Engineering (Acoustics), University of Texas, USA (1980)
Memberships: Institute of Acoustics; Acoustical Society of America; Audio Engineering Society, International Society for the Performing Arts
Founder Sound Space Design (SSD) (2002-2015)

Bob’s mission is to bring people together in communication – of clear information and heartfelt emotion – to enable performing artists to do their best work. He has a deep sense of how something should sound with a gift for communicating with musicians, theatre artists and technicians, architects, and engineers, by combining design creativity and practicality.

Beginning his career at Artec Consultants New York, Bob rose quickly to Director of Acoustics and then Deputy Chairman, and was principal acoustician and project manager on the following projects: Culture and Congress Centre, Lucerne (1998); Chan Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver (1997); The Esplanade, Singapore (2002); the CBSO Centre – new rehearsal facilities for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (1998); Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto – strategic acoustical planning from 1993-95, opened 2002; Toronto Centre (formerly Ford Centre) for the Performing Arts in North York (1994); and, the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida (1992).

From 1997-2002 , Bob was an Associate Director of Arup Acoustics, leading concert hall acoustics projects, technical development, performing arts marketing efforts and many projects. As lead acoustician, Bob’s credits include The Sage, Gateshead, UK including a 1700-seat concert hall, 400-seat “3D recital hall”, and new regional music school; the renovation, restoration and addition to Frank Matcham’s historic Hackney Empire Theatre, London; major renovations and redevelopment of Glasgow City Halls for residency by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; and The Helix at Dublin City University, a flexible 1200-seat concert hall and two theatres. Other smaller, but equally eloquent projects led by Bob in his “Arup years” include the 325-seat Hampstead Theatre, London; renovations and acoustical upgrading to the prestigious Almeida Theatre, London; and, the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) at Queen’s University, Belfast.

In 2002, Bob founded Sound Space Design to deliver the very best acoustics with close connections to stakeholders and architects. In October 2015, he and Anne Minors combined their acoustics and theatre consultancies to form Sound Space Vision, emphasising the holistic and multimodal approach that both companies bring to project design and success.

As lead acoustician on all of the SSD/SSV projects Bob has enhanced the connection between people in facilities for music, speech, drama and worship. His small music venues include: Hallé St Peters, Manchester; Menuhin Hall, Surrey; ACCA Centre at Sussex University; and Zorlu Center recording studio in Istanbul. Concert halls include: Koerner Hall and Telus Centre, Toronto; La Maison Symphonique, Montreal; renovations to Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis; Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto; Colston Hall, Bristol; Massey Hall, Toronto and improvement of the Liverpool Philharmonic’s stage acoustics.

Bob’s work on opera houses (large, small and temporary) include: Palace of Peace Opera, Kazakhstan; Four Seasons Centre, Toronto; Winspear Opera, Dallas; Garsington Opera, Wormsley; and the Nevill Holt Opera House in the East Midlands, UK, shortlisted for the Stirling Prize.  Theatres he has worked on include Zorlu Center in Istanbul, , as well as high-quality lecture rooms and galleries like the V&A Museum, and the Royal Academy of Arts.  Storey’s Field Community Centre in Cambridge is a naturally ventilated, highly sustainable community centre, also shortlisted for the Stirling Prize.

At SSV Bob has developed the acoustical design for some interesting transient venues — designs for pop-up venues such as London’s Cubitt Square at Kings Cross, the Multi-Story Orchestra in Peckham Car Park and the 360 Productions show tent for traveling shows.

Bob has led important technical developments in building acoustics, including computer modeling of acoustics, perception-based measurements and design, quiet lighting dimmers and HVAC systems, new approaches to room acoustics, design, perception of music, 3D sound, auralisation, Virtual Reality, multimedia and creative use of space to manipulate sound. He is also the author of dozens of papers and lectures on the sciences of acoustics and application to the built environment.  Cutting-edge technical projects have included prediction of ground-borne vibration propagation to protect sensitive optical equipment at Cambridge; and perceptually relevant measurements and analysis for the House of Commons in Ottawa, focusing on real-world speech intelligibility in Parliament.