|Manchester, UK||Royal Northern College of Music||£7m||2014|
The concert hall is located at the centre of the college and had remained largely unchanged since the building’s construction in 1972. The dramatic redevelopment included the construction of an additional balcony, to increase its capacity from 460 to 650 and to enable the college to maintain its international standing.
Sound insulation to adjacent performance and teaching spaces was a critical consideration. To ensure that the separating double-skin wall construction was not compromised, the structural support of the new balcony was designed to sit almost entirely within the building’s original walls, incorporating a cantilevered structure and limited intrusions into the existing building fabric. The result is an elegant design which also creates a feature at the back of the hall, highlighted with architectural lighting.
It is simply a beautiful space to perform in. When on the platform, you can hear every single detail and nuance, but has a naturally warm acoustic that has just the right amount of reverberation to make you feel comfortable and enable you to stretch the boundaries in terms of dynamic range and colour. It is equally good for the audience, as a very clear sound wherever you are sitting that draws you into the performance, and has everything from intimacy to real vibrancy.Professor Linda Merrick Principal, Royal Northern College of Music
architect, acoustic consultant, lighting designer