The practice, together with renowned conductor Mark Stephenson, Arup Acoustics and the mobile staging company ESG, identified a gap in the market for a mobile, external performance-based acoustic shell. A company has been formed to start fabrication.
Designed from the inside out and based on intensive acoustic research, Soundforms propels sound, both music and spoken word, directly out towards the audience. The shells will revolutionise external music performance, providing shelter and acoustic reinforcement. The dynamic and organic form delivers unparalleled acoustic projection – initial tests indicate a significant improvement in the broadcast quality of the sound produced for both performers and audience.
The shells will be available in three sizes to accommodate musical performances (both natural acoustic and amplified), semi-staged dramatic performances (spoken word acoustic), dance (using a sprung overlay floor) film shows, (projected either onto a screen in front of the acoustic shell or onto the inner shell during mixed medium performances) and children’s entertainment and exercise classes.
Optimised acoustic reflectors installed onto the fixed overhead and vertical side stage wing trusses create an inner surface delivering a dynamic on-stage acoustic, enhancing the degree of ensemble between different sections of a band or orchestra, allowing the performers to hear one another and providing clearer broadcast sound quality from overhead mounted microphones. In most contexts, in order to achieve optimum conditions, a sound amplification system will be required, depending on the specific location, background noise level and audience size.
The projecting upper ‘peaked’ surface is the result of rigorous analysis of the acoustic performance of the shell. A 3D acoustic computer model using ‘Odeon’ software has optimised the shape of the platform, the side wall angle, the height above the stage and the peak dimensions.
The shell provides the overall enclosure for the acoustic interior, and the technical equipment for the associated on-stage spaces. Offering protection from the weather as well as a proscenium for theatrical performance, the design is flexible enough to adapt to different environments and performance-specific criteria.
Awards: Highly Commended World Architecture News Performing Arts Building of the year 2013 Highly Commended World Architecture Festival Cultural Building Category 2012