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A Space Optimised for Acoustic Performance

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The brief was for an intimate venue for chamber music incorporating fine acoustics. Intimacy called for a “gathering of the audience around the performers” enveloping the performance space. The space is designed to bring the rural outside in and for the views to be part of the performance experience.

The multipurpose auditorium is an intimate venue for chamber music with exemplary acoustics. The building is a musical instrument in itself. The roof employs the structural principles of the ancient reciprocal frame. Rafters are composite soild timber with a steel web plate. Load is distributed, rafter to rafter, each supporting the next in a continuous transfer of load. The structure has simultaneously, energy and balance. Externally the sweeping timber composite timber and steel verandah rafters fan up over the deck to embrace the rising mountain view. Every timber rafter, floor finish, wall surface, shape, element and plane are working together to create the interior acoustic. All timbers were selected for their sustainable qualities. The auditorium has a spacious and enveloping sound. Musicians have remarked on its fullness, clarity, richness and warmth. 

Architect/Designer: Anton Johnson Architects

Engineer: David Reynolds, CPR

Builder: Harrold and Kite


CPR

Floor System: Reinforced concrete raft footings finished with solid Blackbutt timber floor boards on battens is the floor finish to 80% of the area. The utility areas are finished with tiles.The soil Blackbutt timber floor boards are 130mm wide glued and secret nailed to a 20mm structural plywood underlay fixed over timber battens at 450mm centres. This is a sprung floor designed to have rigidity whilst having spring for the acoustic. 

Vertical Support or Wall System: A primary structural steel frame with timber framed walls and stepped bulkheads. 100% of all wall framing is timber. For acoustic purposes the inner wall framing to the auditorium is required to be very stiff with linings of 25kg/m2. Wall framing is 120mm x 45mm at 300mm centres for the inner wall frames to the auditorium supporting 32mm thick plywood linings made up of 20mm structural plywood and 12mm hoop pine plywood. Outer wall frames are 120mm x 45mm at 600mm centres supporting external linings of corrugated Colorbond and 9mm Ecotec FRC panels on steel.

Roof System: 100% of the roof system is a composte solid timber and steel rafter using the ancient "reciprocal frame" structural system. Solid Oregon timber beams are bolted each side of a steel web plate to form a composite timber/steel rafter. Solid Oregon secondary rafters span between the primary rafters. Structural plywood is a bracing sheet over the top of both rafters and secondary rafters. Hoop pine plywood panels, set at a variable depths for acoustic sound diffusion, are fitted into the reciprocal pattern of the roof to complete the acoustic enclosure of the auditorium.

Cladding: Vertical jarrah T&G boarding.

Deck: External decking is 130mm x 30mm forest red mahogany left to silver naturally. The deck is wide with gradual steps down to the gardens. Auditorium opens directly onto the deck for additional function and dining area, linking the interior with the outside.

Pergolas: Solid blackbutt beams on CHS steel columns clad with solid blackbutt boards stained jarrah red. The alfresco dining has an extended pergola covered area and pizza oven for outdoor dining.

A glass wall faces the summit and garden. Blade walls of rammed earth frame views of the vines. Working closely with acoustic consultants the auditorium is crafted for fine acoustics. The space is an extension of the musical instruments. The acoustics are recognised, with commentators stating that there is no comparable chamber music space in Australia.

Every timber finished wall and bulkhead surface in the auditorium is detailed to have an acoustic role. The ceiling design employs the structural principles of the ancient reciprocal frame. Timber and steel composite beams interlock at the crown. The reciprocal structure distributes load from rafter to rafter, each supporting the next in a continuous transfer of load. The ceiling embodies simultaneously, energy and balance and visual rhythm. Each segment is divided into smaller panels with varying depths for sound diffusion.

The auditorium interior is a musical instrument in itself with perfect acoustics for chamber music. The ceiling and roof design consists of composite solid timber and steel rafters using the ancient "reciprocal frame" structural system. Solid Oregon timber beams are bolted each side of a steel web plate to form a composite timber/steel rafter. Solid Oregon secondary rafters span between the primary rafters. Structural plywood is a bracing sheet over the top of both rafters and secondary rafters. Inserted Hoop Pine Plywood panels are set at variable depths for acoustic sound diffusion.

Floor Covering: T&G solid blackbutt timber floor boards on battens is the floor finish to 80% of the building area. The utility areas are finished with tiles. The solid blackbutt timber floor boards are 130mm wide glued and secret nailed to a 20mm structural plywood underlay fixed over timber battens at 450mm centres. This is a sprung floor designed to have rigidity whilst having spring for the halls acoustic requirements.

Internal Panelling: For acoustic purposes the inner wall framing to the auditorium is required to be very stiff with linings of 25kg/m2. Wall framing is 120mm x 45mm at 300mm centres for the inner wall frames to the auditorium supporting 32mm thick plywood linings made up of 20mm structural plywood and 12mm hoop pine plywood. 100% of interior panelling is hoop pine veneered plywood with yellow cedar framing boards, battens and trims. Additional trims are red gum. Bulkheads are lined with solid yellow cedar boards of varying thicknesses. All the wall and ceiling planes are designed for the hall's acoustics.

Architrave: Tasmanian oak and jarrah.

Doors: T&G expressed joint, ship lapped, solid yellow cedar boarded doors.

Joinery and Cabinetry: The greenroom joinery features silky oak veneers and solid Tasmanian oak trims and frames. The alfresco bar features joinery in solid red gum boards with silky oak veneers and local granite benchtops.

Rails and Balustrades: Stainless steel handrails and frameless glass balustrades.

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