This award-winning 2400-seat concert hall was commissioned to provide a permanent home for the Hallé and BBC Philharmonic orchestras.
To deliver the balance of loudness, clarity and intimacy required for classical, symphonic and choral music, acoustic considerations were central to every stage of the design.
To achieve total protection from external road and railway noise, the lower levels of the auditorium are surrounded by a cocoon of foyers and offices. A limestone-clad double skin insulates upper walls from airborne sound, and the building rests on 280 sets of steel springs to isolate it from noise from the adjacent railway.
The hall is protected from its own noise by housing all major plant items in a detached tower. Services are supplied from the tower through acoustically-lined ducts. The two air conditioning ducts are 20 times normal size – ensuring air flow is slow and silent.
Optimum auditorium design
Arup and RHWL Partnership refined the original auditorium design to optimise the acoustics. Elements of the typical 'shoebox' and 'vineyard' concert hall forms were combined to create a rarely-attempted 'hybrid' form.
Acoustic reverberation was maximised by elegantly exposing the roof structure within the auditorium. The roof is a spectacular arrangement of two way-spanning trusses supported on slender columns. The internal geometry was developed to provide appropriate sound diffusion.