Unmatched acoustics and a transformable hall: What has become of the philharmonic in Zaryadye

Unmatched acoustics and a transformable hall: What has become of the philharmonic in Zaryadye
An unmatched acoustic system, modern technological equipment, and high-quality musical instruments will place the capital’s philharmonic among the world’s best concert venues.

A new concert hall opened in Zaryadye Park on September 8. It is one of the best presents for Muscovites for City Day. The first concert at the new venue was performed by the Mariinsky Theatre symphony orchestra conducted by Valery Gergiev.

A total of 300 events are scheduled for the 2019-2020 concert season. They include music concerts, lectures and meetings with performers. Workshops and interactive programmes with light and sound and 3D technologies will add to the schedule.

A glass canopy and a man-made hill

The concert hall has two auditoriums and two open amphitheatres. Their total seating capacity is around 4,000. The building has four floors above ground and two underground floors with an area of 25,600 square metres.

The Big Amphitheatre seats 1,600 spectators; the Small Amphitheatre is designed for 400 seats including the balcony. The pit stalls can be transformed into a stage with the help of dynamic mechanisms whereas the volume and shape of the stage can be changed. The number of seats and the size of the orchestra pit can also vary. 

The adjacent territory hosts two open-air venues: the Big Amphitheatre for 1,600 seats and the Small Amphitheatre seating 400 with a media façade. Concerts and shows from the main stage will be streamed on the screen for the park’s visitors.

The two facades of the building fit into the sloping relief whereas the roofing is made as a glass canopy – it is the world’s biggest transparent structure. The metal frame with glass triangles has an area of 8,700 square metres.

The glass canopy with solar panels creates an environment that is warmer than that outside.

The main façade that faces the square in front of the halls is made of glass. The other façade made of natural stone incorporates a huge trapezium-shaped media screen.

Transformable pit stalls and unmatched sound

The concert hall is made unique by its special equipment. The pit stalls of the auditorium are equipped with a QSX (quick seating exchange) system. It was designed specially for the Zaryadye Concert Hall. The isles behind the stage are made of lifting platforms with an acoustic camera and a curved telescopic stand – a bleacher. The pit stalls are transformed into an even floor within 40 minutes.

The design of the building allows for unloading trailer trucks with special equipment right on site. The stage and the auditorium are equipped with stage lighting, front-of-house spots and systems of sound amplification, engineering acoustics, video projection, technological surveillance, communication and information. Also, a sound recording studio is located in the building.

The concert hall has natural acoustics. To achieve perfect sound, specialists used unique acoustic panels weighing 150 to 600 kilogrammes with mahogany inserts. Such technologies have never been used in Russia before. During the final works, a special environment was maintained in the room with 45 percent humidity and the temperature of 21 degrees Celsius.

The acoustic testing of the halls was made by the Nagata Acoustics America Inc headed by Yasuhisa Toyota. His past projects include designing the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts in New York.

The Japanese company’s specialists made special dummies and seats, which they placed inside a physical model of the Zaryadye Concert Hall. Then the air was pumped out to be replaced by liquid nitrogen. The dummies had microphones inserted in them, and the acoustics experts assessed the sound quality. 

The unmatched acoustic is also ensured by the stage flooring made of a special species of cedar. The floor in the hall is covered with oak parquet boards. The lobbies have panoramic façade glass and decorative wooden panels on the walls. The floors are covered with natural granite and the ceiling is clad with 2D panels made of imitation stone with in-built lighting.

The concert hall is equipped with high quality instruments including an organ made by the French company Mühleisen. It was assembled manually according to old technologies specially to fit the parameters of the concert hall.