Monday 14 December 2015

Redevelopment of Bristol's Colston Hall

The Colston Hall in Bristol is to be redeveloped - providing the funding is in place the transformation will start in 2017 - the hall’s 150th year – and could take two years. The redevelopment will include remodelling the auditorium, its balcony, roof and an overhaul of the smaller Lantern venue. It will also restore the iconic Victorian frontage and open up the building’s cellars for the first time in 100 years where educational workshops take place. The call for bids to enter this competition came earlier this year, and MACH Acoustics was pleased to spend some time in this great venue gathering ideas to propose for acoustic consultancy.

Max Reynolds says As part of the Colston Hall bid, MACH Acoustics produced some flythrough animations of the existing and proposed halls. The animations not only included a visualisation but also an auralisation of the spaces to allow the viewer to get a feel for the relative lighting and acoustic characteristics of the two spaces.
 Existing Hall as above image
New Hall as proposed

Generating animations like this requires:

·         Building an acoustic model of the space and defining an animation path through the model
·         Generating impulse responses at set intervals along the animation path
·         Convolving these impulse responses together with audio to generate the auralisation through the model
·         Enhancing the acoustic model visually and carrying out a similar process to generate the visuals along the animation path
·         The audio and video then need to be joined together and the final animation is created

The real power of an auralisation is that it allows us to hear what the space will sound like before it is built. The visualisation is an essential component in giving the viewer some context of what they are listening to. This sort of animation can be used to highlight different configurations and how this impacts the visual and acoustic characteristics of any given space. Producing auralisations like this provides an unrivalled level of clarity and understanding between the acoustician and the client and the rest of the design team of what a space will be like, maximising the chances of end user satisfaction.”

So, as to the result of the competition – did we win? No, but Ze Nunes and the MACH Acoustics team were invited for interview which gave them a good opportunity to meet the architect Levitt Bernstein and the Colston Hall panel. The architect made some complimentary observations, and in terms of being Bristolians the MACH team will be winners yet enjoying the Colston Hall one day in full glory.

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