Amadeus Auditorium Design (AAD Ltd) was established to provide clients in the education sector with an innovative approach to either the refurbishment or creation of performance spaces.
Our experienced team can recognise how the space will be used and viewed from acoustic and aesthetic criteria. Considerations include practical planning, health & safety, audience capacities, lighting, air circulation, curtaining, staging and of course, sound management. Our main objective is to design the space from the inside out.
The comfort of the performer and audience is of paramount importance in any auditorium, along with an obligation to ensure that the space is sympathetically designed with the existing features of the venue.
On many occasions we have visited a site where the existing facility ‘does not work’.
But what does “not work” really mean?
- The space is the wrong shape or size; too compressed, too high, to low, too wide, too narrow.
- The space is sufficient, but the acoustics are awful: If staging a drama, the cast have to shout, or whisper, or a combination of both depending where they are on-stage. For orchestral or choral productions the acoustic is too dry. The audience either cannot hear or they are deafened; and the overall sound is dreadful. There are areas within the hall/auditorium that are great to sit, others to be avoided at all costs.
- The seating is uncomfortable; this encourages movement and creates an unsettling sound across the space (thus raising the ‘noise floor’). Lines-of-sight are poor, accessibility is limited, means of escape are limited and/or potentially hazardous.
- Air circulation either guarantees overheating or that everyone freezes, or that mechanical handling for air circulation is so noisy it becomes distracting. Or there is no air circulation and the audience fall asleep!
- Noise from outside the auditorium carries inside; sirens, and motorcycles are the worst offenders, but there are all manner of interruptions/distractions to consider and manage.
- Access to exits and amenities is poor. Accessibility of any description has not been considered, or if it has not properly installed and/or signed.
- Visitor traffic is not planned. A crush builds quickly particularly during intervals when there is least time.
- Poor or non-existent surround and over- stage facilities. Poor quality curtains, tabs, lighting, sound amplification, storage, movability of props. Each of these sectors can be critical to ensure the success of whatever performance is happening.
- Changing facilities for performers are rarely considered and there is rarely enough space.
So, what now?
Whether your existing space needs refurbishment, refreshing and updating, or you have in mind building a new auditorium, spend some time thinking about what you want to achieve. This is the time perhaps to get some benchmark costs established. Once you have listed what the space must deliver and to whom; we are able to work up some costs, that generally speaking will be within +/- 5% of the final cost. This process cannot be done overnight, but nor should it take months.
It is perfectly normal to make an architect your first port of call; start with the inside, start with what it has to deliver. A combination of the right acoustics and a dramatic, plus practical environment is where you start. We have brought together two highly experienced specialists in Adrian James, Acoustician and Michael Holden, Theatre Designer. We work in association with these people who have, between them, been involved in over 30 auditoria including Hampton School and Liverpool Hope University.