News 14-08 (No.320)
Issued : August 25, 2014
Concert Hall and Cinema Open in Taipei New Horizon Building,
Songshan District, Taipei City
By Toshiko Fukuchi
On a site in Taipei City's financial and cultural center, near the landmark Taipei 101 skyscraper, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall and the Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, a new, 14-story multipurpose building recently opened for use. The new building has stores, restaurants, offices, a hotel, a concert hall, 3 cinema theatres and an event space. Architects Toyo Ito & Associates designed the building. Nagata Acoustics provided the acoustical design and consulting services for the concert hall, cinema theatres and event space.
<< Songshan Cultural and Creative Park >>
The main building of the campus now known as Songshan Cultural and Creative Park was built as a cigarette factory during the Japanese colonial era. During that era, in addition to building the factory, other buildings for worker housing and amenity facilities were also built on the campus and most—if not all—of these structures still remain standing. After being designated in 2001 as a cultural heritage site, the factory building was gutted, remodeled and reopened in 2011 in its present incarnation as Songshan Cultural and Creative Park. The building is now home to art galleries and a variety of other shops. In addition to drawing many visitors on weekends and holidays, when Songshan Cultural and Creative Park stages a special event on a weekday, it also fills with attendees.
The outdoor environment around Songshan Cultural and Creative Park has also had a makeover with the planting of trees and addition of a pond. A café faces onto the pond and provides seating and refreshment for enjoying this oasis of nature in the middle of Taipei City.
<< Overview of Taipei New Horizon Building >>
Taipei New Horizon Building is located on the north side of Songshan Cultural and Creative Park and covers a generally rectangular footprint that extends in an east-west direction. Exterior architectural elements include a curved exterior and tiered set-backs on some of the upper floors. The hotel uses the upper floors on the east side of the building and the west side has shops and offices.
The below-ground levels house the concert hall and cinema theatres. In addition, these levels have several restaurants, cafes and other eateries. The restaurants and other eateries attract both concert and theatre patrons and others who come just to enjoy the food.
<< Eslite Performance Hall >>
Eslite Performance Hall
We designed the Horizon Building's concert hall—named Eslite Performance Hall—primarily for chamber music and recitals. The 361 seats of the audience seating are all on a single floor that has a somewhat steep incline. The hall's maximum ceiling height measures 8 m (26 ft). The hall is wider at the stage than at the rear of the hall, so that the shape may be likened to that of a boat hull. At the stage, the hall's width measures 15 m (49 ft).
The ceiling height of this concert hall cannot be said to be as high as might ideally be desired. From the acoustical design perspective, we wished to increase the height, but we joined the project at a stage when the plans that included the hall's height had already been finalized. In addition, the hall is sandwiched between an outdoor event space on the floor above and a garage below, making sound isolation measures essential in both directions. These sound isolation requirements also contributed to limiting the hall's ceiling height. To mitigate the constraints, we reduced the space between the ceiling and the structure to the absolute minimum and created a ceiling design that makes full use of the available height. As a result, the catwalk above the ceiling can only be accessed in a crouched position.
If a concert hall has a low ceiling, when direct sounds reach the ceiling, they tend to produce early sound reflections that come back into the room in a focused way, meaning that the human ear does not perceive any expansion or broadening of the sound. To address this tendency in Eslite Performance Hall, along the hall's side walls, we angled the walls slightly upward near the stage and made them more vertical towards the rear of the hall. Additionally, we added eave-like, protruding horizontal bands along the walls. The purpose of this design and the protruding elements is to promote increased sound reflections throughout the hall.
The surface material of Eslite Performance Hall's walls and ceiling is gypsum-fiberboard of 18 mm (0.7 in) thickness. A portion of the audience seating's aisles has carpeting—to minimize the sound of footsteps if some patrons take their seats after the start of a performance—but most of the hall has non-sound-absorbing flooring.
When we began working on the Eslite Performance Hall's acoustical design, the client requested a specialty hall for classical music concerts. However, as the project progressed, the programming direction shifted and we were asked to adapt our acoustical design to also accommodate genres other than classical music. We met this request by installing a retractable curtain at each side of the stage. The curtain enables the hall's reverberation characteristic to be adjusted depending on the needs of the performance. At the completion of the project's construction, we measured the sound reverberation time in the hall (at 500 Hz, with the hall empty) and obtained a 1.3 second reverberation time with the curtains retracted and 1.0 with the curtains extended.
The width of each audience seat measured 560 mm (22 in), which is slightly larger than the width of the typical hall seat installed in Japanese halls. We conducted sound absorption testing of the seat in Taiwan and, based on the data from the tests, we calculated that at 500 Hz and with the hall full, the hall's reverberation time is 1.1 seconds with the curtains retracted and 0.9 seconds with the curtains extended.
<< Eslite Art House >>
Eslite Art House
Eslite Art House is the name of the New Horizon Building's cinema theatres, which include 3 separate movie theatres: one with 186 seats, one with 135 seats and one with 94 seats. To achieve effective sound isolation between the theatres and other nearby spaces, we adopted anti-vibration and sound isolating structural designs for all 3 theatres.
For the interiors of the cinema theatres, we maximized the use of sound-absorbing materials. The walls and ceilings have a layer of glass wool covered by cloth. The floors have wall-to-wall carpets.
<< New Horizon Building Event Space >>
The New Horizon Building's top, 14th floor has a visually striking event space. The roof has a gentle curve and two peaks—perhaps reminiscent of circus tent roofs. The ceilings of the event space rooms follow the lines of the roofs, with the maximum height reaching 9.6 m. (31 ft) in one of the event space's rooms.
In this high-ceilinged space, a plethora of expanded-metal elliptical discs hang at various heights from the ceiling to create a cloud-like covering below the roof. The two long sides of the space have floor-to-ceiling glass windows that create an open feeling and offer an expansive view of the Taipei City skyline.
The programming in this space will include parties with music and a variety of other events. To prevent sound transfer during events to the rooms on the floor below, we designed the event space structure with a floating floor and we used an anti-vibration and sound isolating design for the walls. Because most of the planned events will prefer a space with less-lively reverberation, we specified a layer of glass wool across the entire ceiling and carpet for the floor. In designing the decorative expanded-metal discs that are suspended from the ceiling, we also took care to implement a design that does not diminish the sound-absorbing properties of the ceiling.
<< Sound Isolation Design Implementation and Project Completion >>
This project's construction began in July, 2011 and completed in September, 2013. During the anti-vibration and sound-isolating structural work, the installation of audio equipment and the interior fit-out, I visited the project site repeatedly. In particular, because the contractors were unfamiliar with Nagata Acoustics' preferred anti-vibration and sound isolation installation techniques, the construction teams and I spent time to review the details and agree on the construction methods. The project's on-site design team also paid close attention to the acoustical specifications and their continual inspections and confirmations of work surely contributed to a completed project that fulfills the acoustical performance expectations.
While I have not yet had the pleasure to hear a concert in Eslite Performance Hall, a member of the architectural team reported that when concert organizers visit the hall to consider it as a potential venue, they immediately book it. I am delighted that the hall is being so well received. The hall's excellent location will surely help its popularity continue to grow.
The Eslite Group of companies, which began as a bookstore and includes Taiwan's largest retail bookstore company, manages both the concert hall and the cinema theatres in the New Horizon Building. To learn more about the New Horizon Building and its facilities, please visit its website here. (Floor plans and photos can be seen by clicking on the teal-colored link on the horizontal menu bar at the top of the site's home page.)
New Church Building for Shonan Church in Tsujido, Kanagawa Prefecture
By Ayako Hakozaki
In June, 2014, construction of the new Shonan Church project completed. The church is located in a residential neighborhood within easy walking distance of Kugenuma Beach, Kanagawa Prefecture. After 50 years of use, the church had outgrown its old, wood-frame building and, with the old building showing signs of age, the congregation decided that it was time to move into a new home.
Takeshi Hosaka Architects served as the project architect. Arup was the structural engineer. The Yokohama-based construction company Eiko Corporation built the new church.
Mr. Hosaka has been gaining recognition as a notable architect. He won The Japan Institute of Architects (JIA) New Generation Award in 2013 for one of his private house designs. Arup introduced us to Mr. Hosaka and this was our first project with him.
<< Architectural Overview >>
Built on a site measuring 120 Japanese tsubo (approx. 396 sq. m or 4,265 sq. ft), the new, single-story church is a reinforced concrete structure with an exposed concrete exterior. The highlights of the building's exterior design are surely the 6 curved peaks of the building and the horizontal, clerestory windows at the top of each curved roof section.
The church entrance is located towards the middle of one of the building's long sides. The lobby that is immediately inside the entrance divides the building between the sanctuary to the left of the lobby and the social hall and children's room to the right. The sanctuary accommodates about 80 persons.
The walls between the sanctuary and the lobby, the lobby and the social hall, and the social hall and the children's room are each made of large wood panels. These room separators can be opened to combine one or more rooms into a larger space or even to create one very large space through the entire building.
In all of the rooms, the clerestory windows bring abundant natural light indoors and they allow congregants to enjoy views of the sky and outdoor greenery. The visibility of these natural elements lessens the feeling of being indoors, and creates a very comfortable environment.
<< Sanctuary Acoustics >>
Strips of black urethane foam embedded
between the walls' concrete ribs
add sound absorption.
Among the acoustical design requirements for the sanctuary we included a focus on ensuring that the many older congregants be able to clearly hear the sermons. To this end, we limited the liveliness of the space to an appropriate level that does not interfere with clarity of speech.
Architecturally, the sanctuary's ceiling was planned to be the exposed underside of the building's curved concrete roof. Fundamentally, this shape and material work well from an acoustical design perspective but required us to focus on adding sound absorbing surfaces.
Sound absorbing elements could not be added to the rear wall of the sanctuary, because most of the rear wall is the large door that can be opened to combine the sanctuary with the lobby and create a larger space. The architect's plans for the side walls of the sanctuary called for smooth concrete surfaces. In addition, Mr. Hosaka designed the side walls to be parallel, which could result in flutter echoes.
Together with Mr. Hosaka, we considered his design intentions and the acoustical needs of the sanctuary. We decided to make the concrete side walls of the sanctuary have a pattern of vertical ribs with a random periodicity. In the indentations between the ribs, we inserted strips of sound absorbing black urethane foam to provide the sanctuary with an appropriate amount of sound absorbing surfaces.
<< Hand Bell Concert and Project Close-Out Appreciation Event >>
In early July, 2014, the church held a hand bell concert in the new sanctuary. Some 120 congregants, friends and well-wishers packed the building to help celebrate the church's completion and enjoy the concert.
The walls' concrete ribs surely made a difference during the concert because the sound of the bells seemed much softer than I would have expected inside a concrete structure. Moreover, when Pastor Furuya introduced each melody his words could be heard clearly and easily throughout the space.
At the end of July, the church held a project close-out party to show their appreciation to the project team. The congregation hosted the party at the church with friendly conversation and home-made treats. The construction team reminisced about the many hours they spent figuring out how to build the uniquely curved roof. Some members of the architects' team reminisced about the complete reinforcing rods frame for the roof they suddenly got the idea that it was so visually appealing that it should be installed and left without pouring any concrete. That past episode—so tense at the time—had now become sweet nostalgia. At the end of the evening, the master carpenters sang the traditional celebratory Japanese "Hakata Iwai Uta" and left with the hope that we'd all meet again on another project.
Two July Events by Organizations for Theatre Professionals
By Makoto Ino
At Nagata Acoustics, we spend most of our hours working on specific client projects. To stay current in our field and best serve our clients, we also attend and participate in a number of academic and professional organizations. These societies and industry associations include architectural and theatre performing arts organizations, as well as organizations for acoustical consulting and engineering professionals.
In July, I attended two professional meetings. One was a gathering hosted by the Japan Institute of Architects (JIA) and the other workshop was by the Theatre and Entertainment Technology Association, Japan (JATET). In this newsletter article, I will share some topics and information from these two events.
<< JIA Architect's Friday Club Talk Event:
"Is There a Future Evolution for Theatre Architecture?" >>
JIA Friday Talk Event
at the Architects' Club
The JIA Friday Talk Event takes place once a month in a multipurpose space named The Architects' Club, located on the first floor of the JIA building in the Jingumae section of Tokyo. At this event, volunteer speakers present on a variety of topics of interest to architects and professionals who work in related fields. JIA provides wine and light refreshments and the event has a relaxed atmosphere. The comfortable space has both portable chairs set out for the event and sofa seating as well, making it an attractive place to spend a few hours on a Friday evening.
Architect Masako Inagaki opened the event for the JIA. She explained that the JIA's goal in hosting the monthly event is to increase appreciation of architecture. In addition, the event aims to have presentations where speakers can share their ideas unreservedly without the formality that often pervades professional meeting seminars.
Some 30 participants attended the July 25th event. The guest speaker was Professor Shozo Motosugi, who we introduced to this newsletter's readers in our May, 2009 newsletter. Prof. Motosugi spoke on the topic; "Is There a Future Evolution for Theatre Architecture?"
Prof. Motosugi began with the following question: "When you choose a tomato, do you pick one that looks good or do you choose one that will taste delicious?"
From this starting point, Prof. Motosugi next inquired of the audience whether we think that theatre architecture is progressing or regressing. Then he used the event's brief time frame of under 2 hours to survey performances and venues of various eras and places. He touched on both recent performances and those of the past, mentioning both performances in Japan and in other countries, explaining the historical evolution of the venues' architecture and providing specific examples.
In Japan, from the time of the Meiji Period (1868 - 1912), theatre and hall architecture has by and large relied on use of the proscenium-stage theatre layout. I thought that Prof. Motosugi asked us if this approach is really "the delicious tasting tomato". While the professor used a simple analogy to phrase his idea, I think he was challenging us to broaden our vision to include performing arts stages and spaces originally used by Japanese and other non-Western cultures and to not be constrained by mainstream ideas. This is a valuable lesson, delivered to us in a place and in a way that I'm sure will make many of the attendees take it to heart in their daily work.
<< JATET FORUM 2014 Electrical Equipment Guide, Second Edition Workshops >>
JATET Forum 2014
Electrical Equipment Guide,
Second Edition Workshop
In this year's May newsletter I wrote about the publication of the Second Edition of the Electrical Equipment Guide for Theatre Spaces (a joint effort of Japan's Theatre and Entertainment Technology Association (JATET) and the Institute of Electrical Engineers of Japan). On July 22 and 28, JATET held workshops about the new publication. The first workshop was held in Tokyo and the second one in Osaka.
The workshop attendees included people from a variety of professions and industries that contribute to stage system designs and installations for performing arts venues, such as architects, equipment manufacturers, construction company representatives and people engaged in operational aspects of running theatres and halls. In Tokyo, 140 people attended the workshop and in Osaka, 40 people attended.
I represented the JATET Acoustics Committee at the workshops and delivered the presentation about the Second Edition's fourth chapter, which focuses on sound system equipment design and installation. Between the publication of the Guide's first and second editions, the main technology used for sound systems in performing arts venues changed from analog signal technologies to digital signal technologies. Also, venues increasingly use networked audio and streaming systems. Loudspeakers have also evolved, with line array speakers becoming prevalent.
Because of the many changes in technologies and equipment during the past 15 years, we basically rewrote the fourth chapter's nearly 40 pages. In addition, because we added information on the design and installation of production communication systems and video project systems to the Second Edition of the Guide, and we slightly updated and appended information on stage lighting equipment, stage machinery and electrical connection equipment, we also spent time on these topics during the workshops.
At the July sessions, most of the attendees were JATET members. In future years, we plan to hold annual workshops to cover new technologies and equipment as they become of interest for practical applications. I hope that use of the Guide, Second Edition continues to grow among technical and operational workers and professionals in Japan's theatres and halls.
Nagata Acoustics Inc.
Hongo Segawa Bldg. 3F, 2-35-10 Hongo
Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
Tel: +81-3-5800-2671, Fax: +81-3-5800-2672
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Los Angeles, CA 90025, U.S.A.
Tel: +1-310-231-7878, Fax: +1-310-231-7816
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Tel: +33 (0)1 40 21 44 25, Fax: +33 (0)1 40 21 24 00