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The design of Disney Concert Hall began with no preconceptions-- and it seemed to go on forever.

WELCOME TO URBANICITY
SENSING URBANITY
LISTENING FOR WORDS
VIEWING IMAGES OF MYSTERY
LOVING MUSIC
READING FOR LIVING
CELEBRATING THE MIND
TRAVELING TO EXPLORE
SEARCHING THE FUTURE
MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Architect Frank Gehy and acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota held the reins-- but a thousand opinions were in play, and for years budgets went from snag to go to stop to stall to go.

At the onset, architect Frank Gehry held no preconceptions for the ultimate form of the hall except that he did want a sculpted shape that would be evocative of music and create an intimacy between the orchestra and audience.

Acoustician YasuhisaToyota wanted a space that would create a warm sound, but also one of exceptional clarity.

Walt Disney's family were adamant that the hall would be on par or surpass the sound of the world's finest.

The concert hall committe and officers of the Los Angeles Philharmonic visited halls throughout the world and selected halls in Berlin, Amsterdam, and Boston as the standard to match or better.

Philharmonic musicians had played  Suntory Hall in Tokyo several times and thought is was a terrific.  (Toyota designed the acoustics) There the concert platform is centered, with the audience seated on all sides. Early on they said they preferred this shape.

Gehry made more than 30 small-scale models and Toyota would evaluate and critique the acoustical characteristics of their shape, one by one.

The first concept design was a synthesis, integrating a sculptural seating design into a regular box. Gehry described the seating design as a wooden boat in a plastic box. Metaphorically it was "a ceremonial barge on which the orchestra and the audience would take a journey through music."

The idea behind the design was that music as experience was more important than merely hearing the sound. The "psycho-acoustic" of the room became the design goal.

Toyota evaluated Genry's sail-like curves of the ceiling and the flow of the interior walls. Happily he found that the articulation of theses parts and the convex curves actually improved the acoustics. It scattered the sound and caused more reflections– adding warmth and resonance.

Larger models were built for further testing. The first tests were conducted optically using a laser to map the pattern of sound reflections from ceiling and walls onto the seating areas.

Later testing was conducted acoustically on a model that was one-tenth the actual size of the hall. Sound impulses at ten-times normal frequency, were used to verify the final shaping of the walls and ceiling, and to tune the hall’s reverberation by the placement of absorbent material. Ultimately the goal of superior acoustic quality was achieved.

Today, Disney Concert Hall is considered to be among the most acoustically superb spaces in the world for performance and enjoyment. And it’s also perfectly suited for in-house recordings and film scoring.

go to the Los Angeles Music Center and Disney Concert Hall

Remain curious.