School of Architecture and Bldg. Eng., Univ. of Bath, Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY, UK
By 1980 the understanding of acoustics for concert halls had reached an interesting stage. Two German studies at Gottingen and Berlin with dummy head recordings had gone a long way to determining the important subjective and objective dimensions. However the influence of architectural form on subjective acoustic conditions was much less well established. There were two possible routes: testing acoustic scale models or full-size auditoria. With access to sufficient full-size auditoria, the latter was the obvious choice since it also allowed true subjective assessment. The acoustic survey of British auditoria involved both objective measurements and subjective assessments in over 40 auditoria including concert halls, drama theaters, opera houses, and multi-purposes spaces. The whole exercise has now been published [M. Barron, Auditorium Acoustics and Architectural Design (Chapman & Hall, London, 1993)]. In concert halls a major conclusion of the subjective exercise was that halls with good reputations score well with regard to several attributes, such as reverberance, envelopment, and intimacy. Several novel observations on the effect of design details will also be discussed.