Posts tagged with "Acoustics":
In the city, it can be hard to find places of total quiet. A new exhibition at the Guggenheim, though, tries to tone down loud New York, at least for a couple of minutes.
Artist Doug Wheeler has created expansive works with luminous materials since the 1960s. His latest piece, PSAD Synthetic Desert III, creates the impression of infinite space as it plunges visitors into almost complete silence. With help from what are essentially large Magic Erasers, Wheeler transformed a regular museum gallery into an almost totally silent space meant to evoke the northern Arizona desert.
Wheeler first conceived of Synthetic Desert in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but this is the first time his installation has been realized. Tucked away on an upper floor of the Guggenheim, visitors pass through three sound-cushioned antechambers before entering the installation on a carpeted gangway.
Save for a recording of the desert, the luminous purple-gray space is so soundless you can hear a whole constellation of funny bodily noises that are typically unhearable in everyday life. While sound in a quiet room registers at 30 decibels, in Wheeler's semi-anechoic chamber, noise levels check in at about 10 to 15 decibels.
To achieve this super-quiet, the museum used 1,000 pieces of sound-absorbing melamine foam on one side of the room and on the floor. 600 grey foam wedges line the walls, and 400 pyramids of the same material fill space below the platform where visitors sit and take it all in. The Guggenheim worked closely with Arup sound designers Raj Patel and Joseph Digerness to realize the exhibition, and BASF, the company that created the foam, is an exhibition sponsor.
PSAD Synthetic Desert III is on view through August 2 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. More information about reservations and walk-in tickets can be found on the museum's website.
With the recent completion of a Gensler-led renovation to the building’s lobby and uppermost floors, the addition of a terrifying glass slide by M. Ludvik Engineering, and the opening of 71Above, a smart restaurant and cocktail bar designed by Los Angeles–based Tag Front, L.A. suddenly has reason to reconsider what might be one of the city’s most easily overlooked landmarks: the U.S. Bank Tower.
The 1,018-foot stepped skyscraper at the heart of the city’s central business district was built in 1989 and designed by Henry N. Cobb of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. Its 73 stories culminate in a flat-topped, multilevel penthouse suite formerly occupied by a boardroom. In recent years, the tower has struggled with high vacancy rates and the dramatic renovation comes as the building’s new owners, Overseas Union Enterprise Limited (OUE) aims to reinstate the building in the public’s mind.
Central to that effort is the Tag Front–led design for 71Above, located in the uppermost floor of that ex-board room. The overhaul has transformed a prototypical office building into a contemporary and noteworthy spot and modernized the spiky, crenelated cap sitting atop what is now—with the recent topping-out of the Wilshire Grand tower—L.A.’s second-tallest building. As a result, 71Above has been added to the city’s collection of remarkable spaces; there all can enjoy the tower’s panoramic views.
Tag Front described the project’s guiding principles as encompassing “the existing nature of the building, [the space’s] footprint, and the client’s desire for the dining and lounge areas to wrap around the entire building.” The space features wraparound atmospheric vistas thanks to special high-tech glass developed by SageGlass that very slightly changes opacity as the sun moves across the sky, minimizing heat and glare within the space and removing the need for view-blocking draperies.
The self-shading windows are framed by expanses of thin wood-panel piers suspended from the facade. These piers lurch forward at the molding line, pivot out over the dining room, and accentuate each aperture. In some areas, the panels conceal collapsible partitions that can be pulled out to make private dining rooms. Along a central area, the same wood paneling is used to frame the restaurant’s wine collection.
The ceiling spanning between these two areas, however, is a testament to the union of geometric articulation and functionality. Here, Tag Front installed a ceiling configuration, developed by architectural-products manufacturer Arktura specifically for the project, that consists of a hexagonally shaped grid of woven baffles made of recycled plastic that dampen sound. This arrangement complements the city stretching out just over the precipice, mimicking what, from nearly a thousand feet above, looks like an orderly, gridded urban expanse.
According to Tag Front, the design team focused on the spatial and acoustical qualities of the ceiling from the beginning of the project. “After going through five or six different types of solutions and modeling each one [using 3-D software], we finally decided on the hexagonal, cellular baffle ceiling,” Tag Front explained. “We felt that due to its nature, the hexagonal cells were able to adapt to the complex, circular, and faceted geometries of the building in a much more interesting way, filling most of the space with their detailed, ornate nature and at the same time leaving strategic voids where the hexagonal brass chandeliers were suspended below them.”
Tag Front explained that Arktura had been experimenting with repeated acoustical baffle modules suspended from thin-gauge wire to create a flexible, unobtrusive, and highly functional ceiling made of recycled materials. “We came across a miniature mock-up version of one and pushed them and the client to make it into an oversize version and a suspension system that also allowed the cells to move up and down vertically along with the cellular horizontal movement,” the architects said. “Everything evolved from that moment.”
In the end, the team of designers, fabricators, and carpenters came together to create a space that is relatively novel for the city: one of the few observation-deck-level restaurants not perched on a mountainside.
Structural Engineering Services Nabih Youssef Associates
Ceiling Assembly Arktura
Altered Glass (213) 327-2016
Exterior Windows SageGlass
On May 21st, "One Day in Life," a 24-hour musical experience, will take over the German city of Frankfurt. The two day event will feature 75 performances sprawled across the city in unusual locations, all curated by Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind.
Initiated and commissioned by the Alte Oper (Old Opera) Frankfurt, the project seeks to break free from the conventional concert hall framework. The locations, as chosen by Libeskind, range from the Commerzbank Arena (Frankfurt's soccer stadium) to hospital operating rooms, boxing arenas, Oskar Schindler's house, and even the underground repositories of the German National Library. The music has also been chosen by Libeskind, showcasing an equally eclectic diversity. Renowned artists and students will perform classical and contemporary orchestral numbers as well as Indian Ragas and electronic music.
To ensure that as many visitors get a chance to be involved, performances will be repeated multiple times at each location, with two-hour intervals. A full listing of the program can be found on the event website.
One might not think to travel to Evanston to get a view of the Chicago skyline, but thanks to a new Goettsch Partners–designed Northwestern University campus building, that has changed. The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts, home of Northwestern’s Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music, takes a transparent approach to the normally opaque music-school building typology. The result is a project that connects the far north side of campus all the way to downtown Chicago and Lake Michigan.
The five-story, 152,000-square-foot glass form sits in stark contrast to the campus’s 1977 Walter Netsch–designed Regenstein Hall of Music. The older and much smaller Brutalist structure was the campus’s main music building. Instead of discarding the Regenstein, Goettsch worked to wrap the building and provide interior connections on all levels to incorporate the two projects into one greater whole. For the first time, to the delight of the school, the entire music department, all 650 students, can be housed under one roof.
Nearly every space in the new building sits behind glass-curtain walls looking out over the water. This includes the classrooms, practice rooms, and even the main 400-seat recital hall. To achieve this, great care—and some inventive sound and material engineering—was needed to ensure the acoustically reflective glass would not compromise sound quality.
In the case of the practice rooms, the goal was to isolate each room from its neighbor. To do this, walls, floors, and ceilings received fairly typical sound-insulating techniques, including use of extra drywall and sealed doors. The trick was to stop sound from leaking from room to room along the curtain wall. To do this, custom-designed transoms between panes were engineered to acoustically isolate each room. The result is spaces in which students can practice without the distraction of the tuba next door but with the advantage of full daylight and uninterrupted views of the lake stretching out below them. Though the practice rooms were given special attention, it is in the main recital hall where the project was able to really flex its acoustic-engineering muscle.
The 400-seat Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall is an intimate wood-lined space with one thing that few performance spaces can boast: a stunning view. Thanks to a 40-by-42-foot low-iron curtain wall behind the stage, concertgoers are treated to a vista of the Chicago skyline 13 miles to the south. Even more so than in the practice rooms, sound quality was absolutely paramount in the design of the space. In collaboration with Kirkegaard Associates sound engineers, the window wall was designed as a novel double layer of glass calibrated to control sound quality. The outer layer is a more typical curtain wall, while the inner layer is slightly canted to avoid the audience hearing any sound echoing off of the glass. The air space between the layers acts as an insulating buffer to keep the exterior noise of the occasional speed boat or Coast Guard helicopter from ruining a concert. This space also allows for an operable fabric blackout sunshade to transform the layout and mediate solar gain, as the room is south facing. The undulating wood walls are designed to work with the canted glass wall to absorb even more errant sounds, and acoustic banners can be lowered from the ceiling to “tune” the space for each individual concert.
The performance spaces were not the only ones to benefit from the project’s transparency. The main entry leads into a bright three-story glass atrium that passes completely through the building, from campus to the lakefront. Every classroom and office also has access to daylight. Even the 150-seat black-box opera theater, typically a space that would be devoid of daylight, has a full glass wall, which can be blacked out when needed.
Goettsch worked with renowned New York–based environmental design consultant Atelier Ten to achieve LEED Gold certification for the project. Along with working as sound insulation, the double-skin glass technology used throughout the building has a positive effect on energy efficiency. Additionally, the building incorporates a gray-water system, a design intention sensitive to the building’s location on the lake.
Ultimately, through sometimes unconventional means, the Ryan Center changes the way in which we expect music schools to look and perform. Not bound by small punch windows, practice rooms don’t have to be dark, uninviting spaces, while recitals can be set against the drama of an ever-active lake and a towering skyline. Resources: Curtain Wall Benson Industries, Inc.Skylight System Super Sky Products Enterprises
Limestone Wall Eclad Stone Cladding System, Illinois Masonry Corp
Recital Hall Woodwork Imperial Woodworking Company
Choral and Opera Woodwork Glenn Rieder, Inc.
Stone Flooring SIMI
RPBW’s active double skin facade kick starts a “new generation” of campus design at Columbia University
Columbia University’s expansion has been selected by LEED for their Neighborhood Design pilot program, which calls for the integration of smart growth principles and urbanism at a neighborhood scale.Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) is designing four buildings to be built over the upcoming years as a first phase of Columbia University’s Manhattanville campus expansion. The first of these four projects to break ground is the Jerome L. Greene Science Center, a research facility used by scientists working on mind, brain, and behavior research. The facility is ten stories wrapped in nearly 176,000 square feet of building envelope, consisting of transparent floor-to-ceiling glazing. “Columbia’s existing buildings are sited massively on the ground, and the campus— for many reasons—is gated. However, the new Manhattanville campus will express the values of this century: tolerance, openness, permeability, and transparency. It’s a new generation of campus design,” said Antoine Chaaya, the RPBW partner in charge of the Columbia project. An elevated subway track along the east facade generated 88 dB of noise, which needed to be significantly reduced for occupant comfort. To achieve this, the architects created a double skin facade system that was sealed from the outside. It represents the fourth double skin facade developed by RPBW, and the first to include active air circulation, according to Chaaya. “What helped us to create this fourth typology of double skin is the constraint: The fact that it cannot be permeable to the outside. It has to be sealed, and at the same time we have to fight against potential condensation. We solve the problem by active air circulation from the bottom to the top of the building.” The resulting facade system provides superior blast resistance and thermal properties, while reducing sound transmission by 45 dB. The cavity of the facade assembly is 18 inches deep, sized just large enough for maintenance access. Highly purified and dehumidified air is filtered three times and slowly cycled up vertically through the cavity at two feet per minute, a rate that ensures quiet operation and no disturbance to shading devices within the cavity. Air in the cavity cycles at a rate of six air changes per minute, managing heat gain and condensation buildup in the cavity. Variations in the facade are generated from functional responses to solar orientation due to orientation, honestly expressing the interior functions of the building. The result is a sophisticated building enclosure, abiding by a rigorously minimal design aesthetic while nimbly adapting to environmental criteria.
A system of 946 unique panels will produce optimal acoustics and aesthetics at the University of Iowa's new School of Music.For a 700-seat concert hall at the new School of Music at the University of Iowa, Seattle-based LMN Architects wanted to design a high-performing ceiling canopy that would unify the many features of traditional theatrical and acoustic systems. The result is a 150-foot-long by 70-foot-wide surface composed of 946 suspended, intricately laced panels that incorporate complex, interdependent, and at times conflicting systems—including lighting, theatrics, speakers, sprinklers, and acoustical functionality—in a unified architectural gesture. "The system is sculptural for sure, but it had to conceal structural truss work, which was a major cost savings as opposed to building an acoustic container," said Stephen Van Dyck, a principal at LMN Architects. The design team worked with both parametric digital and physical models to coordinate the structural system with the acoustic, theatrical, audio/visual, lighting, fire, and material elements of the canopy. "From Day One, it was a digital model," he said. "We needed a smaller physical model to get everyone's head around making this happen physically. A three-foot room model has a big impact on ability to conceive." LMN fabricated the scale model, as well as a few full-sized components, on the firm’s 3-axis CNC mill. The canopy is divided into hundreds of panels, each of which is unique to accommodate the needs of the many systems. Along the back of the canopy's perimeter, panels feature large openings so that the sound profile of each concealed speaker passes through unimpeded. Other panels along the perimeter are designed with varying degrees of acoustic transparency relative to the size of openings on surrounding panels. Medium openings toward the back of the canopy house stage lighting, while smaller openings accommodate house lights. Panels with the smallest openings, or those less than 70 percent open, conceal sprinklers, while the solid panels that droop down over the stage are angled to effectively reflect sound into the house. "From the audience, the intent is for sound to reach you quickly rather than for other sounds to arrive slower," Van Dyck explained, "so the sculptural gesture brings sounds right back to the audience." The many consultants who contributed to the design worked in different digital formats. The acousticians used SketchUp; the lighting designers worked in Revit; and theater and audio/visual specifications were saved as DWG files. Each program was compatible with Rhino and, with a Grasshopper plugin, LMN was able to incorporate information from all other platforms. "The parametric model was very flexible and let us accommodate changes all along as developments came from other contributors," Van Dyck said of the design process, which he described as more cyclical than linear. The parametric capabilities of the digital tools that the team used helped facilitate a smooth and efficient documentation process during the mock ups, making it easy to go back through any kinks that were uncovered. LMN built the mockup from aluminum composite paneling, a relatively inexpensive metal system composed of two layers of aluminum with a composite core. The material is highly flexible and it can be bent by hand after scoring on the CNC mill. This process could potentially eliminate on-site fabrication requirements. Fabrication data generated by this production model will be applied to all 946 of the unique panels in the final project. Documents will go to bid this summer, and the building is expected to open in 2016.