Building works complete on Australian music venue
Australia’s cultural portfolio is significantly boosted this week with the official opening of the Melbourne Recital Centre. Designed as a collaboration between design architects, Ashton Raggatt McDougall (ARM) and acoustics experts Arup Acoustics, the project was funded by the Victorian Government as part of the Southbank Cultural Precinct Redevelopment.
ARM struggled initially with their inclination to avoid the classical ‘shoe-box’ form, known to predict acoustic perfection, in favour of a more architecturally expressive design. But in the end the classic shape was explored further and in their words, “The resolution of the Hall becomes one of the creation of room-ness, a remarkable room of spectacle, surface and sound.”
“The fusion of architectural and acoustic design throughout the development of Elisabeth Murdoch Hall has produced a visually and aurally exciting hall,” adds a design statement from Arup Acoustics. “Based on the proportions of the classic shoe-box shaped European concert hall, the geometry has been enhanced to provide greater acoustic intimacy and improved sightlines for the entire audience.”
The project’s acoustics have been played as central to the design. An entirely timber interior turns the hall into an instrument in itself adding an architectural bass to performances. The organic texture diffuses sound throughout to reverberate with clarity and strength.
“Today is a proud moment for us and for the hundreds of people who brought this extraordinary project to
fruition,” said Melbourne Recital Centre Chairman Jim Cousins AO.
"Australia now has one of the finest
acoustically designed halls in the world, and a new arts company that will expand the performance and
appreciation of ensemble music in ways not yet seen in this country. We congratulate the Victorian
Government for this, its newest addition to Melbourne’s internationally admired cultural precinct.”
Niki May Young