Photographer's Note

Elbphilharmonie – Acoustics

I would have liked to compare the acoustics of the main hall of the Elbphilharmonie with the acoustic of the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, one of the halls that are praised for their acoustics and where I regularly belong to the audience.
Unfortunately there were no concerts in “Elfi” so I had to limit myself to a visual inspection of the acoustical facilities.
Three factors are decisive for the acoustics of a room:
• The design of the room.
• The size of the room.
• The acoustic properties of the materials used. (absorption coefficient - reflection direction)

One of the parameters for determining good acoustics is the reverberation time (the time it takes for an audio signal to drop 60 dB in strength).
The desired reverberation time depends on the use of the room.
For classical music, a reverberation time of approximately 2 seconds applies. as ideal.
For example, a classroom is 1 sec. too long.
Long ago I measured the reverberation time in the Nieuwe Sint Bavo cathedral in Haarlem with a number of students for their building physics practical. We measured a reverberation time of 7 sec !
Churches are often known for their enormous reverb.

In the main hall of the Elbphilharmonie the audience is seated around the orchestra and has an unobstructed view from all sides.
It is clearly visible which decisions the architect and the acoustical consultants had taken to achieve excellent acoustics and judging by the favorable reviews they excellent succeeded.

Nevertheless, for me one point of criticism of the interior of this concert hall. Beautiful in design but sober and even boring in some details and use of colour. Maybe a choice not to divert attention from the music.

■ Picture 1: ◄ The ceiling with the recess for the hall lighting ►

■ Picture 2: ◄ Acoustic wallcovering to spread the reflected sound in various directions ►

■ Picture 3: ◄ The large hall with different acoustic wall finishes ►

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Additional Photos by Rob Zwemmer (alvaraalto) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5620 W: 329 N: 10884] (42652)
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