Today some of us had the opportunity to attend the Open House NY tours of new theaters around the city. Since we are redesigning the black box theater at HSA, we are all faced with the task of understanding how to design these spaces for optimal acoustic quality, opportunity for flexible use of the space, appropriate materiality, and of course strong aesthetics.
I went to the DiMenna Center for Classical Music designed by H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture on 37th street. The space was very inspiring and the tour was extremely informative. These are some of the most interesting things I learned:
1. The walls (and ceiling) of the performing space are not parallel in order to enhance acoustic quality. The ceiling is tilted upward and the walls tilt inwards towards the top.
2. The space is built as a box within a box. The space between the two boxes is accessible to allow for mechanical systems to be accessed, curtains to be drawn, concrete surroundings to be patched, recording equipment to be plugged in etc. Layering becomes key to controlling acoustics and also allows for flexibility of the acoustic qualities based on how many people are in the room and the activities occurring.
3. More and more layers of paint will increase reverberation
4. The rounded edges of the wood boards diffuse sound
5. Controlling sound quality is a balancing act. Designing for acoustics becomes a very tricky give and take between absorption and diffusion. The qualities required for a solo singer are very different to those required for a 60 person ensemble.
- Alexia Sheinman, MFA Interior Design
This blog details the semester-long work of the Allied Studio, a cross-disciplinary effort of the MFA programs in Lighting Design, Interior Design, and the Master of Architecture program at the School of Constructed Environments in New York City. For the fall term students are re-visioning the Harlem School of the Arts in Manhattan, a pioneer of childhood education in the fields of music, dance, theater, and the visual arts.