Scientific and technological advances have yet to convincingly define or predict the acoustic performance of concert halls. Instead, acoustic designers are confronted with a growing set of parameters that, whether independently or as a whole, fail to convey whether a hall is good or bad. This parametric approach developed out of attempts to measure successful early halls, and though it has illuminated a great deal, it has simultaneously confined designers to a choice: emulate or disregard.
Industrial design points the way to a new approach: extant halls can be used as prototypes, to be developed and informed by fundamental relationships between sound and enclosure.
The impact of 21st century music must not be ignored, as electronics and computing expand musical design, fabrication, and production into an ever increasing infinitum. New concert halls must accommodate music’s continual innovation alongside its historic repertoire.
Driven by these ideas, the Divergent Form is proposed as a new basic concert hall geometry. It is precise, minimal, and free of concavity and applied acoustic treatment. Its surfaces distribute energy evenly across the audible spectrum, and its open corners control reverberation and avoid focusing. It is in essence a primitive – an alternative to the shoebox, fan, elliptical, and surround concert hall types.
Complete definition, underlying theory, and functional considerations [structure, seating, sightlines, acoustic isolation, etc.] will be available in late 2012.