Designed by Arup’s acoustic team, in collaboration with architects stephenson STUDIO, The Stoller Hall is the main performance space of Chetham's Music School – one of the world's premier specialist music schools, and the largest in the UK.
Arup provided full acoustic design of Chetham's new school building. The 482 seat concert hall is the final phase in Chetham's redevelopment, which brings together rehearsal, recording, teaching and performance spaces into a state of the art facility.
The acoustic design of the hall comprised two key aspects: achieving an excellent room acoustic to support and enhance the required uses, and ensuring that the space has extremely low noise levels to achieve dramatic silences in performances and avoid disturbance from adjacent spaces.
An innovative, variable acoustic system was integrated into the design of the hall to enable optimisation of the room acoustic for a diverse range of events, including jazz performances, conferences and orchestral rehearsals. This system enables acoustic banners to be deployed into the hall at the touch of a button, to dramatically reduce its reverberance when needed.
The sound quality in the hall gives the audience a special, refreshing, ‘earwashing’ kind of experience. I’m so thrilled for our students and the experience they’ll get performing in this one-of-a-kind space. We had an open and communicative relationship with Arup throughout the project, having collaborated with them in the past. When we were given the wonderful opportunity to build this hall thanks to Norman Stoller, Arup’s acoustic team enabled us to galvanise into action in a fabulous and fantastically detailed way. ” Steven Threlfall Director of Music, Chetham’s School of Music
The room acoustic of the hall is exceptional for its main uses of chamber music recital and recording. This has been achieved through an extremely high level of attention to detail in the design of its geometry and finishes – every surface has been considered and optimised.
The design was developed using sophisticated 3D computer modelling and also Arup’s extensive experience in the design of similar halls throughout the world.
The acoustic finishes include large areas of various bespoke sound diffusing treatments, including high quality oak sound diffusing panels at low level and low frequency sound diffusing treatments to the upper walls and ceiling. The ceiling was also cleverly designed to be a bespoke ‘panel absorber’, which provides substantial low frequency sound absorption to the space and prevents it from sounding boomy.
Silence is golden
The Stoller Hall is structurally separate from the main building, to provide the highest possible degree amount of external sound reduction from the building and the surrounding environment. The full box-in-box construction, with a heavy masonry inner box mounted on elastomeric vibration isolation bearings, was inserted into the centre of the school. Arup’s acoustics team have designed a variable dynamic acoustic system for the Hall to provide the highest possible sound quality for different types of music performances.
This highly complicated construction technique, also employed at The Bridgewater Hall, ensures that the interior of the hall is silent – perfect for high quality recitals and recordings. Arup also advised on noise control for the ventilation system and other building services systems to maintain silence even when the hall is fully occupied.