Pyatt Recital Hall

The Pyatt Recital Hall and the associated Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) School of Music was another enjoyable project to work on, primarily because of the people involved. Spearheaded by VSO artistic director Bramwell Tovey and developer Bruno Wall, both of whom were dedicated to excellent acoustics and architecture. The architectural team was led by Doug Nelson. Beyond the Recital Hall, pictured here, the school includes a plethora of classrooms, practice rooms and a Large Ensemble Room. The president of the VSO, Jeff Hamilton, strongly encouraged an expression of British Columbia’s pastoral environment - the Rockie Mountains covered with trees.

One of the big acoustical challenges was a high speed elevator connected to the side wall of the recital hall. The acoustical solution was simple and was drawn up in the first meeting (Image 3). The structural resolution of this was not quite so simple and structural engineer Micheál O'Keeffe originally had his doubts. He took the challenge on and eventually designed a 48 story tower with no solid connection to the stabilising elevator core - at least for the first five floors. A very difficult thing for a structural engineer to do.

The architectural expression of the world of British Columbia is subtle and beautiful. And all of it, thanks to the architect’s sensitive design, serves an acoustical purpose.
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Sketch developed in the first meeting
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Architect: Bigham Hill Architects
Principal Acoustician: John O'Keefe