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Acoustic engineer's account

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construction study

The main theatre has been designed with a programmable variable acoustics system, enabling the acoustic of the theatre to be adjusted to suit the performance.

Particular attention has been given to prevent noise disturbing the audience's enjoyment. Expenditure has been balanced between excluding external noise (the main theatre is 'inboard' in the building plan), isolating the parallel musical activities that will fill the building with life (using box-in-box isolated rooms as necessary) and carefully controlling building services noise.

Both advanced computer simulations and an acoustic scale model were used to assist the design of the main theatre and we were able to listen to the acoustic predictions of the computer model. This technique is known as auralisation. It enabled, for example, assessment of the effect that a lighting bridge would have on the sound of the flute trill played in the orchestra pit.

The public areas have a controlled but not over-controlled acoustic, such that the ambience is lively without being noisy.

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