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    Yale's Sound Renovation

    by ArchitectureWeek

    In renovating a historic concert hall, it can be a tricky balancing act to improve both thermal comfort and hall acoustics while respecting the traditional character of the original building. At Yale University's School of Music, Canadian architects Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg, teaming with acoustical consultants Kirkegaard Associates, have succeeded in achieving this balance.

    Sprague Memorial Hall, a 1917 neoclassical building in New Haven, Connecticut has just reopened, marking the culmination of over a year of design and nearly two of construction. The renovated building houses the 650-seat Morse Recital Hall, offices, practice rooms, classrooms, and two acoustically specialized suites for recording and electronic music.

    Improving Building Performance

    In the recital hall, the challenge was to preserve the much-admired acoustic ambience while adding air conditioning often a noisy proposition. The designers were also asked to add a control booth, improve the hall's isolation from external noise, and make the hall adaptable to a more diverse range of musical genres.

    As part of the renovation, the previously single-pane, operable-sash windows on each side of the recital hall were sealed shut, and secondary panes of heavy laminated glass were added on the interior. The glass was installed at a slight angle, improving acoustic clarity at loud volumes.   >>>

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    Guitarist Sharon Isbin performs in the Morse Recital Hall after renovation by architects Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg and acoustical consultants Kirkegaard Associates.
    Photo: Kirkegaard Associates

    ArchWeek Image

    A new recording suite in a historic building.
    Photo: Kirkegaard Associates

     

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