New concert hall opens – empty

This is the Paul Sacher Saal at the new music and cultural center Don Bosco Basel.

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  • What an ugly room. It can’t have very good acoustics. It’s probably very boomy. The high ceiling and proportions are good, but the total lack of atmosphere, the distracting windows, the lack of decoration ensure that the dispersal of soundwaves will not be ideal.

    • From a close inspection of the single picture, it is clear to me that the acousticians have considered sound dispersion. Those vertical black panels appear to be diffusors, designed for such a purpose and long used in other concert halls and recording venues. The science behind them is well-founded. The diffusors may in fact have been undergoing tests when the picture was taken, as the spherical device at the bottom is probably part of an acoustical test system.

      And three minutes of Google searching turns up the fact that this is not a new construction but a renovation of a church to turn it into a concert-hall/recording studio. The windows were an architectural given. They are high enough out of view not to be distracting in daytime events and provide no-cost, carbon-footprint-free illumination. And of course, they are visually irrelevant at nighttime events. Besides, the Musikverein in Vienna seems to do very well for itself with its large number of windows, even during the New Year’s Concert held in broad daylight and where the audience is more likely to be disturbed by the TV lights.

  • If philanthropist-conductor Dr. Paul Sacher were alive, he would just commission enough chamber works to fill his hall for a month of Sundays. All conductors should be so rich, except Muti.

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