Sound Site: About Orchestra hall

What it's made of:
All of the materials were selected to provide optimum reverberation characteristics for symphonic music.
Reverberation is defined as the persistence of sound in a room after the sound source has stopped.
Even the furnishings--the wood backed chairs--were chosen on the basis of their acoustical properties.
An essential acoustical feature of a great concert hall is proper diffusion of sound. Diffusion promotes the uniformity of sound throughout the hall and, in addition, it beneficially influences the manner in which sound dies away in the hall. Here, the required diffusion has been accomplished by the use of a highly-articulated solid-plaster ceiling formed in cubical patterns, by splayed panels along the side and rear walls, and by irregularly tiled surfaces on the faces and undersides of the balconies.


Site- Orchestra Hall is constructed on the site of the former Lyceum Theater, where the Minnesota Orchestra performed from 1905 to 1930. Two terra cotta lyres from the original building have been placed on the box office wall.
Building- Orchestra Hall is really two buildings: a brick and concrete auditorium and a glass, steel and aluminum supporting structure, seperated by a one-inch gap to free the concert hall from outside sound. Placed at a ten-degree angle on the block, the rectangular shape of the inner building is in the tradition of many famous European concert halls.
Seating- 2,573: 1,590 in the main floor and 983 in three balcony tiers.
Lobby- A fifty-foot high mixing chamber brings people together on three half-level bridges as well as on the ground floor. The white radio-wave light fixtures were originally designed as street lights. Exposed ductwork is brilliant yellow, steel beams are green, the piping is blue.
The primary goal in working with architects was to achieve warmth and richness of sound.
There is a one-inch gap separating the concert hall and the lobby, which is filled with a material to protect the music-making part of orchestra hall from extraneous noises from the offices and lobby ( like phones, computers, fans, etc.).
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Sound Site ©1999 Science Museum of Minnesota