Title means "Quietness", "Comfortable Sound" and "Excellent Acoustics"

Nagata Acoustics News 02-7 (No.175)
Issued : July 25, 2002

Yokohama's New Landmark Attraction: The Red Brick Warehouse

by Ayako Hakozaki

Building Number 1,
The Red Brick Warehouse
The way to the Red Brick Warehouse gives telltale hints of its history. One starts at the JR (Japan Railroad) Sakuragi-cho Station, not far from the port of Yokohama. Keeping Minato-mirai neighborhood (this area's name literally combines the Japanese words for "port" + "future") on one's left, walk on the Kishamichi (old railroad tracks) promenade in the direction of the waterfront until two imposing red brick structures come into view. These are Building Number 1 and Building Number 2 of the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse.

For about the past eight years, preservation and renovation construction work has been in progress at the Red Brick Warehouse. On April 12, 2002, about 90 years after it was first built, the Red Brick Warehouse reopened as the port's new center for community fun, culture and creativity.

<< History of the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse >>

The Red Brick Warehouse dates back to the Meiji Era (1865-1911) when Japan was absorbing many modern technologies and fashions from the West. Architect Yorinaka Tsumaki designed the pair of buildings as a model prototype of warehouses. The construction of Building Number 1 completed in 1913 and of Building Number 2 completed in 1911. From the time of their completion until the early Showa Era (1926 - 1989), the Red Brick Warehouse served as the hub for export trade activities at the port of Yokohama.

In 1989, the Red Brick Warehouse was "retired from duty" and, in March 1992, the city of Yokohama received ownership of the Red Brick Warehouse from the Japanese national government, with a charter to preserve the buildings as historical assets and revitalize them for use by the city's residents. From June 1994 through November 1999, the Red Brick Warehouse underwent construction renovations that included structural reinforcements, roofing and exterior wall renovations. In addition, from October 2000 through March 2002, renovations to the two buildings' interiors readied them for public use and the Red Brick Warehouse's new role in Yokohama's cultural life. Chiaki Arai Urban & Architecture Design was responsible for the renovation's architectural design.

<< The Red Brick Warehouse's Architecture >>

The two Red Brick Warehouse buildings were built as huge, three-story (and partially four-story), brick structures. The large-scale Building Number 2 measures 149 m. (489 ft) long x 22.6 m. (74 ft) wide x 17.8 m. (58 ft) high. Building Number 1 now has about half the size of Building Number 2, but, originally, both buildings had Building Number 2's impressive dimensions. Building Number 1 lost half of its space in the Great Kanto Earthquake that shook Tokyo and the surrounding region in September 1937.

The bricklaying technique used to construct the Red Brick Warehouse is known as "Dutch bricklaying." Building Number 2 alone required approximately 3,180,000 bricks. Its exterior walls are about 70 cm. (28 in.) thick and the interior walls that divide rooms are almost 60 cm. (24 in.) thick.

Some of the original, historically evocative building materials replaced during the renovations now form an exhibit on the floor of Building Number 1's renovated entrance lobby. Relics of the past add to the Red Brick Warehouse's atmosphere in each of its rooms, which have weighty iron sliding doors and rollers. At the bottom of a new glass stairway installed near a gabled side wall of Building Number 1 stands a loading slope that in bygone times was used to move cargo in and out of the warehouse and, in Building Number 2, the underside of the floor slabs are exposed, arc-shaped, wavy metal decks from the building's original construction.

<< Overview of the Red Brick Warehouse's Post-renovation Facilities >>

The Red Brick Warehouse renovation plans designated Building Number 1 to become primarily a cultural facility and Building Number 2 as commercial space. Building Number 1 has a hall, a multipurpose gallery and some shops. Building Number 2 is occupied by the live-music club and restaurant "Motion Blue yokohama" (which is partially a venture of Blue Note Tokyo), a brewery-style restaurant and many other shops and places to eat and drink.

<< Room Acoustics Design for Building Number 1's Hall >>

The Hall in Building Number 1
Building Number 1's three stories are each divided into rooms 12 m. (39 ft) long x 21 m. (69 ft) wide. In planning the hall in this structure, numerous issues quickly came to the fore. These included fundamental requirements such as obtaining the floor space usable as a hall configuration, considering how to achieve sufficient ceiling height and determining the entry and exit paths for people, musical instruments, stage props, etc. We also raised questions about how much weight could be suspended from the structural trusses for stage lighting and other equipment, where mechanical rooms could be located, where to put ducting, and many other concerns.

After much deliberation, we decided to locate the hall on the building's third floor. This solution did not prioritize easy entry-and-exit flow for items needed on stage, but the top floor's comparatively high, gabled ceilings satisfied our important requirement for maximizing the hall's ceiling height. We combined two rooms by removing the dividing wall between them, thereby obtaining the area needed for a hall and we had the space structurally reinforced to bear the weight of the stage equipment we planned to install.

In order to make the hall adaptable to a wide variety of performance needs, the client requested that the hall design provide flexible sharing of the audience and stage areas. In response to this request, we incorporated a flat floor into the hall's basic design, and added a temporary stage, modular tiered seating units and movable, individual chairs to create a hall space that can be freely configured into diverse seating and stage arrangements.

As part of the room acoustics design process, we measured the room's reverberation time prior to beginning the renovation work. Since brick and concrete surround the entire room, at mid-range sound, it measured the very long reverberation time of approximately four seconds.

With the intention of shortening the reverberation time and preventing echoes, our design specified sound-absorbing openwork brick walls at the front and rear of the hall. In addition, for the dual purpose of creating a way to shut out external light and preventing flutter echoes, at the sides of the hall we installed adjustable wall panels that can be vertically raised and lowered. The wall panels are made of perforated metal sheets (on the side facing the hall) with accordion-pleated metal sheets behind them.

When the hall is configured with the kind of set-up one might use for a theatrical production, the stage is 10 m. (33 ft) deep, the hall seats 179 persons and the reverberation time is 1.0 second in a fully occupied hall with the stage curtain deployed. When the hall is configured in a set-up likely to be used for a small-scale concert, the stage depth is 5.5 m. (18 ft), the audience seating accommodates 284 persons and the reverberation time is 1.1 seconds in a fully occupied hall but without a stage curtain.

<< The Hall's Stage Equipment Design >>

Our design for the stage apparatus, lighting, sound system and related equipment aimed to maximize the diversity of applications by selecting equipment and apparatus that allow the user a high degree of freedom in determining how and in what combination they will be used. The foundation of our design is the installation of multiple electrically powered, vertical chain hoists suspended from the structural trusses. Where needed, triangular truss batons can be raised to the apparatus and the triangular trusses can be used to hang stage backdrops, stage curtains and stage lighting, speakers and other equipment needed for a particular event or production. We also assembled an assortment of primarily portable lighting and sound system equipment for the hall, focusing on making available the appropriate tools to enable the professional-quality productions.

<< The Red Shoes and Other Productions >>

Building Number 1 Hall welcomed its first production on April 13, 2002, when the theater troupe Kara-gumi performed "The Red Shoes." Thereafter, the hall continues to have a healthy stream of theatrical, dance, film and traditional Japanese "rakugo" comedian events, and plans for more performances and events continue to develop.

I hope that this Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse will always be a Yokohama landmark full of new vitality and where history can also be recalled and experienced. I truly wish that it will always be a favorite destination.

For more information about Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse Building Number 1, call 81-45-211-1515 or visit http://www.yokohama-akarenga.jp.
For more information about Motion Blue yokohama, call 81-45-226-1919 or visit http://www.motionblue.co.jp.

Operational Success Factors for Concert Hall Pipe Organs

by Dr. Minoru Nagata

<< Pipe Organs and Organ Music >>

Organ in
Musikvereinsaal, Wien
It is fair to say that pipe organs and organ music reached their zenith during the Baroque Period of the 17th and 18th centuries. Thereafter, as the Classical, Romantic and Modern schools successively came to prominence, the lofty status of the pipe organ, once the "king of musical instruments," gradually diminished, giving way to the ascendancy of orchestras and the piano. Even at the famous European concert halls that are the bastions of classical music, organ concerts do not appear on hall calendars and neither rumors nor commentary include any mention of concert hall organs. In the contemporary world of classical music, both in Europe and in the Americas, concert hall organs and organ music have been relegated to a uniquely marginalized position.

<< The Growth of Concert Hall Pipe Organs in Japan >>

According to some information I have at hand, 28 Japanese concert halls already have pipe organs and 2 more are in the process of installing new ones. Japan's 30 concert halls with pipe organs represent an extraordinary phenomenon.

Compared with church organs developed for use during Christian worship, the pipe organs of today's concert halls are a recent innovation in the historical development of the organ as a musical instrument. In Japan, halls only began installing pipe organs about 50 years ago. The first Japanese hall to install a pipe organ was Musashino University's Beethoven Hall, located in a Tokyo suburb. But it was when NHK Hall installed its five-manual, 90-stop, large-scale pipe organ, in 1974, that the concert hall pipe organ really made Japanese music news headlines.

In the 1980s, all of Japan experienced a concert hall construction boom. From this time forward, the concert hall pipe organ became an option given serious consideration in hall projects. When planning began on a concert hall project, a pipe organ study committee also came into being with a parallel timeline and a charter to decide the pipe organ's specifications and select an organ builder.

In the early years of pipe organ study committees, the committee members had access to only limited information about pipe organs and organ builders in different countries around the world. The relative lack of information led to fads in pipe organ selection as first one, then another country's or region's pipe organ builders were inundated with a blizzard of popularity and acclaim from Japan's pipe organ music community. This trend began by favoring German pipe organs, then those from the Nordic countries, followed by pipe organs from Alsace.

However, pipe organ study committees no longer base their choice on information about pipe organs received indirectly from the recommendations of organ builder representatives and pamphlets. Instead, pipe organ study committees take a proactive approach to their work by visiting the workshops of potential pipe organ builders and interviewing their personnel, and, most importantly, they listen first-hand to recently completed pipe organs of the builders they are considering. As a result, the attitude and rigor of pipe organ builders towards the Japanese pipe organ community has clearly undergone a change. The concert hall pipe organs installed in Japan recently rate as the finest quality even when measured against fine pipe organs being installed in countries that have a long pipe organ heritage.

<< The Differing Role of Concert Hall Pipe Organs in Japan and Europe >>

In Europe, where churches dot the landscape, churches can be not only houses of worship, but also the venue for organ music recitals that make the most of the tone colors and characteristics of each church's pipe organ. These organ recital concerts are produced and performed separately from the general programming at concert halls, where the only time the pipe organ is played is in the small number of compositions, such as those by Saint-Saens and Richard Strauss, that include parts written for the instrument, and in productions of large-scale religious compositions.

By contrast, in Japan, one of the major motivations for the installation of concert hall pipe organs is to provide a venue for performances of the kinds of pipe organ compositions that, in Europe, would be played in a church. This means that the concert hall pipe organs installed in Japan need to have characteristics that make them appropriate for organ recital performances. This requirement may well be the single most important consideration for concert hall pipe organs in Japan.

My discussion here has focused on Europe and Japan without mention of the situation in the United States. I hear that the circumstances in that country are somewhere in between the polar situations found in Europe and Japan.

<< Ongoing Management of Concert Hall Pipe Organs >>

Plans for the ongoing operational management of a concert hall pipe organ should be developed as an integral component of the concert hall's overall development of programs and operational activities. Japanese concert halls with pipe organs develop and run programs and activities that include:

* Booking and producing recital engagements by Japanese and international organists.

* Planning and producing lecture concerts and lunchtime concerts with the objective of expanding interest in pipe organ music and understanding of the pipe organ as a musical instrument.

* Offering instruction in playing the pipe organ to interested individuals in the local community.

* Commissioning new musical compositions for the pipe organ and producing the inaugural performances of the commissioned works.

When a concert hall has a pipe organ, the true key to preserving and maximizing the pipe organ's potential is to hire a resident organist as the person responsible for ensuring that the pipe organ gets the right care, attention and protection. Unfortunately, the number of Japanese concert halls with resident organists is probably less than ten. One concert hall, however, is setting a positive example by recruiting its resident organist even before the installation of its pipe organ is completed. This concert hall is located in Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, and the installation of its pipe organ just began this summer. The resident organist position at the hall also already has a detailed job description, outlined in its recruitment advertisement as follows.

Pre-installation resident organist responsibilities:
* Participate in supervising the pipe organ installation construction and voicing & tuning work.

* Plan the inaugural concert as well as talks and lectures about the pipe organ.

* Manage all preparations related to the inauguration of the pipe organ.

Post-installation resident organist responsibilities:
* Plan pipe organ concerts and lectures.

* Perform at concerts and teaching events designed to expand public interest in pipe organ music.

* Provide information about the pipe organ to organists who will be performing at the hall.

* Serve as docent for visitors who come to see the pipe organ.

* Investigate and obtain resolution for any blockages or other problems that may arise during the initial period of the pipe organ's use.

* Manage all daily maintenance and operational tasks associated with the pipe organ.

<< Points to Keep in Mind about Concert Hall Pipe Organs >>

In closing, I will summarize three pieces of information about concert hall pipe organs that I think concert hall directors and managers would do well to keep in mind.

1) A pipe organ is not portable; rather it is a musical instrument installed in a specific, fixed location in the hall. Moreover, since each pipe organ is different from any other pipe organ, the only place where a performer can practice is on site in the concert hall. These constraints make pipe organs different from any other musical instrument. Creating sufficient rehearsal time for performers before their performances becomes particularly critical when an organist is performing on the hall's pipe organ for the first time.

2) Pipe organs are sensitive to temperature and humidity. In addition, pipe organ tuning adjustments are time-consuming work and the pitch of pipe organs cannot be changed. When other instruments perform together with a pipe organ, the other instruments must adjust their pitch to the pitch of the pipe organ.

3) In Japan, the fee halls charge for a piano or other large instrument rental should not be used as a basis for setting a fee for use of the pipe organ as the rate will then be too high for the economics of pipe organ concerts.

Since it is helpful to understand the specific community of performers and audience one intends to serve and attract, the Japan Organ Society is one of the resources available that can provide information about pipe organ concerts in Japan and related topics.

The society can be contacted by email at jos@h7.dion.ne.jp, or by telephone or fax at 81-3-3237-0340.

E-mail Distribution of Nagata Acoustics News & Opinions

We hope you have enjoyed this News & Opinions newsletter, available each month on our web-site (http://www.nagata.co.jp). We also offer e-mail delivery of the text version of this newsletter. To receive the text newsletter to your e-mail address, simply send the following information to us at "newsmail_e@nagata.co.jp"

(1) Your e-mail address
(2) Your name
(3) The name of your company

By requesting the text version via e-mail, you will automatically receive every newsletter and you can still get the visuals and graphics at our web-site.

Nagata Acoustics News 02-7(No.175)
Issued : July 25, 2002

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

E-mail: info@nagata.co.jp

News Back Issue Archives


Company Profile Specialization Selected Projects