A 21st century transformation
Bristol Beacon / Colston Hall
On 30 November 2023 Bristol Beacon reopened with a new look and acoustics transformed for the 21st Century.
Sound Space Vision’s track record on new and renovated concert halls in the UK and around the world has gained the respect of the music community. SSV was the acoustics consultant of choice when Bristol City Council and Bristol Music Trust, after 20 years of tireless effort, decided to transform the Colston Hall building – southwest England’s premier concert destination. Renamed Bristol Beacon in 2020, the project will revitalise the concert hall and a second performance hall, The Lantern, whilst also creating a new performance space and Weston Stage music education hub in the building’s Victorian cellars.
Bristol Beacon has gone through four major changes of interior geometry over its 150-year history, transmuting from a classical concert hall form to different variations of a cinema-type form. Each change increased the audience capacity but also altered the Hall’s acoustics. Modern concert hall standards and the demands of mixed programming served to highlight the significant acoustic limitations of a 1951 stage and auditorium designed before the advent of rock and roll. The goal of the City Council and the Bristol Music Trust is to improve the sound for amplified music and for classical music – essential to Bristol Beacon’s future business plan as a regional centre of international quality music making of all genres.
We have been the “ears” for the project, offering assessment and strategic guidance to improve the immersion and warmth of orchestral sound, as well as creating a clear tight sound for amplified music and speech events. Bristol Music Trust, led through this entire project by the Louise Mitchell, has stood by our advice, as they knew the acoustics for music had to be at the heart of the project.
Download a short paper by Bob Essert on the acoustical design: