Consulting Engineering Award 2011
Like so many other performing arts centres, the renovation of Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre took a very long time. The acoustical assessment and design started in 1994 and the final phase of renovation was completed for reopening in November 2009. That period saw three complete designs of the renovation, each fraught with financial challenges requiring innovative engineering response. The acoustics of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre have long been lamented. The problems were countless, which you can find described elsewhere on this web page
Much of the focus of the acoustic design was on the needs of the Vancouver Opera. But opera only occupies the room 30% of the time. The rest of the acts need a lot more than 2000 seats. In short, the leading acoustical engineers of the world would never set out to build an opera house this big. We did, because we had no other choice.
Half way through the summer of 2007 the lead dust disaster struck. The room had to be redesigned. A balcony had to be deleted from the design, as did the terraced seating levels that were providing the critical lateral reflections for Spaciousness. Quite fortunately, it was at this point that we discovered a new software tool, originally intended to optimise lighting in green buildings. It was introduced to us by our friend Daniel Ruvalcaba who played a crucial role in the in the design and, in particular, the computer optimised geometric location and orientation of the reflectors.