Finding a site Assessing a building for suitability for conversion to any type of arts or gathering use Assistance with preparing a brief Establishing a budget for building conversion Master planning a site through phased development
Process – Acoustics
Our work includes review of interim drawing submissions and draft specifications prepared by the Performance Consultant, Architect and engineers, with comments as appropriate in meetings, in writing or on marked up drawings.
1 – Preparation/ Feasibility
Most projects begin with an assessment of feasibility, clarifying the projected uses and principal spaces. We advise on dimensions for performance and rehearsal spaces based on capacity and programming. Also on adjacencies to balance operational efficiency with acoustical separation. This research forms the basis for establishing budgets. We advise on connections between uses, building brief and business plan.
For renovation and re-purposing of existing buildings we assess the acoustical aspects for suitability. This is a most important step, and our success is borne of our long experience. This is not only a scientific assessment, but is informed by experience listening to arts groups’ needs. When appropriate we assess the acoustical heritage of a building in context of local culture and history to align with the conservation authority and architect.
2 – Concept Design
Because the appreciation of music is highly determined by the room geometry, for music spaces we work with the Owner priorities and take the lead on auditorium geometry. Initially this can start as guidelines for dimensions and proportions and overall shape.
Because musicians have are very sensitive to the acoustics and quality of space around them, we take the lead on setting out dimensions and geometry of performance platform and/or orchestra pit so that the design development will result in successful acoustics onstage. We assess the need for acoustical flexibility and propose variable aspects of architecture and/or stage engineering systems to achieve the appropriate flexibility in the acoustical environment, considering operational priorities and cost efficiency.
In parallel we advise on building wide planning for cost effective sound isolation and noise control – with guidelines on adjacencies, buffer spaces, circulation, services zones, and guidelines for control of mechanical and electrical systems noise – for integration into building layout by the architect and cost planning. We also assess the environmental noise for input to the planning application and initial cost planning for sound isolation.
3 – Developed Design
Our approach involves detailed collaboration with architect, engineers and theatre consultant to develop the scheme design into an integrated whole. Finishes and wall mass are integrated for cost efficiency and acoustical effectiveness. We develop the acoustical flexibility systems with the architect and theatre consultant to be integral with the architecture and address business plan priorities. This stage also includes review of proposed M&E equipment and routes and air velocities.
4 – Technical Design
We provide details and specifications for acoustics aspects of architecture and engineering for integration into the project tender documents. We review the draft progress documents in preparation by the rest of the design team. This usually includes analysis of the HVAC design and advice on duct attenuators, vibration isolators and lighting fixture noise. Details for control room windows, noise intrusion, fixing of finishes,
We have experience with different approaches to contracting, and our clients benefit from this.
5 – Construction
We review contractor submittals – hundreds of drawings, methods and samples, checking anything that could have an acoustical impact. We visit site for periodic inspection of progress and to review acoustics-related construction quality. We assist the design team to answer questions and proposed changes from the contractor. Through long experience with performing arts buildings we can bring quick solutions to difficult situations, always retaining the essential acoustical and performance quality of the design.
In the commissioning period we make final review of the entire building for anything that is not meeting the quality standard. We make measurements of background noise, room acoustics and sound isolation to verify performance.
6 – Handover & In-use
We spend time with the performers and technical team to help them get the best out of the acoustical environment. We attend opening rehearsals and performances. Sometimes we make acoustical measurements in the occupied space in a special concert arranged for the construction team and friends of the project. We prepare an acoustics manual for the operating team with important procedures to be followed for best acoustical results going into the future. We can help the Owner address the press around opening.
We follow up with visits to the staff and attendance at concerts into the future because we enjoy appreciating artistic success of our facilities and want to keep in touch with the progress of our progeny. Because we know that the opening is only the birth, the first step in a long life.