Case Study #1
Ravenscroft – Fabric Acoustical “Blades”
One of the main design features in the new Ravenscroft Hall was the articulated “Blades” that flank the seating. The intent of the blades are both aesthetic and functional as they contained both absorptive and reflective design components. The articulating nature of the blades, similar to that of an armadillo, fold and nest within each subsequent blade. Functional components for theatrical lighting are nested and concealed within the blades to minimize equipment distractions.
The design of the Blades possessed an added complexity as they folded into the ceiling plan toward the back of the hall. Also adding complexity to the construction was that the outer masonry shell had a wall surface that was articulated with a “push / pull” concept so the entire wall was non-coplanar. Since the outer shell of the hall was the substate in which the Blade structure was mounted, the frame mounting points were always in a different plane.
We decided early on to have the interior of the masonry shell digitally scanned so that we had an accurate 3D representation of the build condition. We then modeled all components that interacted with the Blades and these included a sound shelf, theatrical and house lighting, mechanical, speakers, cameras, microphones and an integrated stainless steel handrail. Once these items were digitally modeled, we then exported our Rhino model into Grasshopper, a software program that allowed us to set three dimensional parameters in the X,Y and Z coordinates. These script parameters allowed us to maintain code requirements for handrails, equipment clearances and acoustical modeling performance. After dozens of iterations through computational modeling, we derived at a final surface design that allowed us to start the shop drawings for the steel armature. To maintain a lightweight frame, we utilized aluminum for the framing members. The fabric skin on the exterior was stretched and tucked into concealed channels for a seamless installation. If necessary, the fabric could be removed to access cameras and speakers should they require program adjustments.
Both digital and real mock-ups were created of the frames, fabric wrap and edge trim details. Once signed off by the ownership group, architect and acoustical consultant, we began the process of fabrication.
Although complex in its geometry, the detailing and craftsmanship of the execution provides the hall with a quiet simple shelter in which to view performances.
Our digital modeling provides important “clash detection” of components that allow us to make quick digital adjustments prior to fabrication. We feel it is extremely important to invest more upfront time in defining components prior to fabrication. We find this process allows our subcontractors to save time in the fabrication and installation process. Unlike many general contractors that allow their subcontractors to execute shop drawings, we feel that our internal team of designers and fabricators can create more accurate fabrication drawings and we embrace this aspect of our general contracting.
Prior to fabricating all components we are huge proponents of full scale mock-ups to verify our shop drawings have no “holes” or “conflicts”. Each component from the aluminum frame, fabric track intersections and fabric wrap and trim is fully mocked up to confirm our expectations are being met.
Great care is taken to protect adjacent building components, as well as protect installed components as soon as they are completed. Our scheduling overlays always strive to stagger subcontractors so that each can focus on their task at hand without the aggravation of working around others in the same general area.
As one of our four pillars, Craftsmanship is at our core. When we instill this mindset into our subcontractor base, they take on the challenge to push themselves to the best of their ability. The whole is always made up of the sum of the parts and everyone on the team has a role in making our work the best it can be.
A Ravenscroft piano is handcrafted to meticulous standards with the very finest materials from around the world. The result is a unique instrument with uncompromised aesthetics, and enormous full bass, crystal clear lush tenor, and a full-bodied articulate treble. The 1,000+ hours of obsessive attention to detail the piano receives is nearly four times that of a factory-built instrument. Precision assembled and regulated actions are responsive and controllable, allowing absolute dynamic control and spontaneous repetition. Alluring, flowing lines outline the handcrafted cabinetry.
We strove to create a hall that was perfectly attenuated to hear and feel the quality of Ravenscroft.