CHENGDU CONTEMPORARY ART CENTRE, China
Images courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects
Known as the land of abundance, Chengdu is the location for the construction of China's largest cultural building. Architect Zaha Hadid's extraordinary Chengdu Contemporary Art Centre, due for completion in 2014, boasts an aquarium, shopping centre, museum, conference centre, public areas and three auditoriums.
Marshall Day Acoustics was selected by Exhibition and Travel Group as acoustician for the performing arts venues of this prestigious project based on their expertise and particular proficiency with Zaha Hadid's irregular shaped spaces.
The 2,004 seat Grand Main Auditorium features a flytower, orchestra pit and variable proscenium - up to 31 metres wide - suitable for large productions and screen projections. Variable acoustics are integrated into the architecture to accommodate amplified events from Chinese opera to conferences.
The 876 seat Performance Hall is a smaller version of the main auditorium featuring similar internal architecture and variable acoustic elements, and is suited to drama, fine music, western opera and rock concerts.
The interior architecture of the Grand Main Auditorium and Performance Hall is a series of timber shells, reminiscent of a string instrument. These curved wooden panels cocoon the audience with intimacy, while concealing access doors and lighting positions. In designing the acoustics, Marshall Day Acoustics worked collaboratively with the architect to modify the orientation of the shells to reflect sound toward the audience, increasing clarity, and integrated the variable acoustic absorption behind an organic pattern of perforations.
The 1,027 seat surround Music Hall, designed for small music recitals and orchestras of up to 70 musicians plus choir, features an articulated ceiling that supports the performers on stage and project sound to the audience and can be lowered for smaller ensembles. The two-directional curvatures have been seamlessly used to provide early lateral reflections to the audience while maintaining the organic nature of the interior architecture.