Casa da Música, Porto

Kahle Acoustics was asked to intervene on the Sala Suggia acoustics in order to improve the orchestra definition. Minimalist solutions improved radically the acoustic quality both for the orchestra and the audience, without visible changes into the room. Blending into the architecture has never been truer a challenge.

Casa da Música, conceived by Rem Koolhass, was the first Portuguese building entirely dedicated to all types of music with innovative cultural projects. This building, described as “intriguing, disquieting and dynamic”, won the 2007 RIBA European Award.

Information Sheet

Tuning/Intervention Casa da Música   www.casadamusica.com

Location Porto, Portugal.

Time Frame 2012-2013.

Client Casa da Música.

Venues Sala Suggia is the main auditorium of Casa da Música and has a capacity of 1238 seats. Casa da Música has three resident orchestras: Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música, Remix Ensemble and Orquestra Barroca.

Acoustics consulting purpose Kahle Acoustics was invited to submit innovative and discreet solutions for Sala Suggia that could significantly improve on-stage hearing conditions as well as projection from the stage to the listeners.

Services Kahle Acoustics started by using the existing variable acoustics devices of the hall and studied in details the potential physical improvements. To improve projection and reduce loudness levels on stage, the ceiling canopy was raised as well as tilted. In order to decrease loudness at the back of the stage and improve orchestral balance, acoustic curtains were put over the rear wall of the stage, enabling musicians to hear one another more easily, especially between the woodwinds and strings. This installation was later replaced by dark absorbing foam behind the existing perforated metal wall at the back of the stage, making the added absorption invisible. Cross-stage communication from left to right was significantly improved by adding transparent Plexiglas panels on the stage side walls.

Consultants Eckhard Kahle, Kahle Acoustics.

1/9Casa da Musica1/ A temporary curtain was installed over the back wall of the stage in order to assess a potential need for absorption of the brass and percussion instruments. Photo © Kahle Acoustics
2/9Casa da Musica2/ The tests with curtain being conclusive, dark absorbing foam has been discreetly added behind the metal panels at the stage back wall. Photo © Kahle Acoustics
3/9Casa da Musica3/ Absorbing foam was also inserted into the quadratic residue acoustic diffuser (QRD), between the reflecting slats at the rear of the stage's lateral walls. Photo © Kahle Acoustics
4/9Casa da Musica4/ Temporary acoustic panels made of Plexiglas were added onto the lateral walls of the stage in order to increase the lateral sound reflections and communication across the stage. Photo © Kahle Acoustics
5/9Casa da Musica5/ The impact on the hearing conditions being confirmed, and the right angle for the acoustic panels (reflectors) being defined... Photo © Kahle Acoustics
6/9Casa da Musica6/ ... nearly invisible panels were installed on the lateral walls. Photo © Kahle Acoustics
7/9Casa da Musica7/ The canopy was raised by about 2 meters and tilted in order to increase sound projection from the stage to the audience and to increase the feedback from the hall onto the stage for the musicians. Photo © Kahle Acoustics
8/9Casa da Musica8/ From the audience, the only visible sign of the final acoustic implementations are the very discreet acoustic panels seen on the left. Photo © Kahle Acoustics
9/9Casa da Musica9/ Glimpse of Sala Suggia through its large sinusoidal glass window. Photo © Joao Messias