Having worked on the original Garsington Opera structure when it was constructed in 1995, Architen Landrell are thrilled to be part of the team for the design, manufacture and installation of the brand new venue for the 2011 season. 1,000 hectares of parklands within the Wormsley Park Estate, Oxfordshire, is the setting for the new 600 seat temporary pavilion which will be erected and demounted annually despite being a fully equipped and acoustically sound performance space. Working alongside main contractor Unusual Rigging and architect Robin Snell Associates, the Architen Landrell team has been tasked with the design and supply of a workable solution to this very challenging brief. As a temporary venue, each roof, wall and interior panel will need to be erected and demounted easily by minimum personnel and plant. As Robin Snell comments, Theres a huge industry that puts up temporary buildings for rock concerts. Were doing an architectural version of one of them for opera.
However, the bigger challenge on the cards is achieving the acoustic specification required for the new pavilion to be an effective musical space.Extensive testing was carried out by Architen Landrell and acousticians Sound Space Design in order to find a way of minimising sound created by the drumming of the fabric roof during rainy and windy weather. A perforated plastic sheet was rigged to allow us to simulate rain and the sound was monitored closely over a period of time. Discussion of the test results, and a consideration of the aesthetic impact of the possible solutions led to a decision that the roof will be fabricated using a PVC coated polyester membrane and incorporate a rain attenuation layer, positioned 100mm above the roof membrane itself, in order to improve the acoustic performance of the structure as a whole.In addition, a single layer of PVC coated polyester membrane will form the side walls which also have an acoustic purpose; each panel is shaped in a curved leaf-life configuration and designed specifically for its location within the auditorium in order to maximise sound efficiency. Still in the design stages this project has a long way to go but we are excited by the challenge and look forward to sitting down with a glass of wine as the 2011 Garsington Opera season begins!
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