▷ Year: 2013
▷ Location: Saffron Walden, UK
▷ Client: Saffron Hall, Saffron Walden County High School – Adaptable acoustics
▷ Architect: TOOLEY FOSTER ARCHITECTS
In our most successful adaptable auditorium, The Saffron Hall, the client at interview was promised much. A 740 seat concert recital venue for the largest orchestras and choirs with world-class acoustics, with a total of 15 separate acoustic states, through chamber music, early and renaissance music, contemporary music, rehearsal, recording, opera (with a very large pit), conference, banquets, exhibitions, jazz, folk and world music, dance, lyric theatre and drama. A background noise level (NR15) from all source- close to inaudibility. The finest halls are responsive, loud, intimate, with an acoustic matched to size and performance.
The orchestral sound should be balanced, enveloping, with clarity and precise localisation of instruments. While being optimised for orchestral and choral works to a very high standard, each acoustic state must work as well as its use demands. This means detailed computer modelling of each state, manipulating the volume, spatial geometry, fixed and variable acoustic treatment in a long series of iterations.
“one of the finest concert halls of its size that he has ever played in”.
John Lill, Pianist – The Saffron Hall
Each acoustic state was demonstrated (auralised) to the client and design team in our 3D Ambisonic multi-channel listening room in Brixton, the Octagon. Acoustic Variability was achieved by 300m2 of motorised acoustic panels (Varisorbers) and theatrical curtains. The economy of design and cost, as well as real sustainability, is at the heart of our work. This hall has acquired a considerable reputation among conductors, performers and audiences.
“The hall’s critically acclaimed acoustic and state of the art facilities surpass many of the world’s more established venues. Artists including the London Symphony Orchestra, Maxim Vengerov, Penguin Café, Nicola Benedetti, Courtney Pine and The Sixteen have performed on its stage.”
Angela Dixon, Director