HKUST-SHAW Auditorium opens

I started working on this project in 2015 when in Hong Kong. The ground breaking ceremony happened shortly after I left.

The HKUST-SHAW Auditorium, designed by Henning Larsen Architects, opened this week with the HKPhil orchestra.

From what I have heard (second hand due to Covid travel restrictions) the “acoustics are terrific”.

HKUST-SHAW Auditorium (photo by Vera K.)

With a 840-seats, this hall was designed for orchestral music. The acoustic volume makes it perfectly suited to chamber, early and moderate sized symphony orchestras.

The acoustic idea was to propose a concert hall with less diffusion than what is seen in many contemporary halls. One can easily overdo diffusion out of precaution. But this over-engineering converts too much early energy into reverberant sound.

The approach taken balances carefully the early energy (clarity, orchestra presence) with the late (room presence and reverberation). The result is a clear sound, with a good sense of attack, good localisation and enough reverberation for the stop chords.

To make this happen, a thorough 3D investigation was needed, making sure that the apparently rectangular, vertical and concave smooth walls are in fact none of the above to eliminate flutters and focuses. Grasshopper was, as often, my preferred tool to accomplish this task.

The whole team, including my ex-colleagues at MDA Hong Kong, should be proud of the outcome.

Read more about it here.

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