Tell us about the early design brief
The brief was to create a mobile acoustic performance shell, designed to bring the indoor quality ‘acoustic’ of the concert hall platform to the outdoor stage.The acoustic within the Soundforms shell allows musicians to hear themselves, previously unknown in external fabric performance environments. As a result the quality of their performance significantly increases. The shell is designed to project the enhanced sound produced from the performers to the audience – generating a clearer, louder and reverberant acoustic.
What inspired your design concept?
Acoustic principles were fundamental to the development of the brief and the form the shell. The core idea for the form came from the notion of a seashell that mythically is able to project the sound of the sea to a listener. The form is often considered one of the most beautiful in nature, and a perfect match for the acoustic principles of the design, which is: that of a throat, one that projects sound.
Watch what you say…
- A sign was spotted back stage, warning performers of the following:
‘Please do not use explicit language, or swear, whilst on stage! This is a family area, and due to the exceptional acoustics, you can be heard by the audience.’
How did it feel to be involved in such a large and important British project?
We were thrilled to be involved!
What challenges did you face along the way?
Where Soundforms differs from typical architectural projects, is that at the outset there was no client, or direct revenue source for the project.
The architects and conductors developed the concept and assembled a design team to develop the project as a piece of research and development. The team then became partners in the new company which realised the project, leading to the construction of a 1:1 scale working prototype.
What about specific design challenges?
The biggest design challenge was synthesis of the complex geometries that drive the design concept and acoustic principles. We had to use parametric modelling techniques to enable a total understanding of the form, and distribute this to our partners to enable construction.