April 1, 2012

Sound Absorbing: Musiktheater im Revier

the new materials story

The main focus of the 2010 renovation of


(Musiktheater im Revier; Music Theatre in the Ruhr) in Gelsenkirchen, Germany was to improve the auditorium’s acoustics, said Britta Richter, an architect for

Bock-Neuhaus Partner

, who led the project. This didn’t mean a one-time, single-use upgrade since


is host to ballets, concerts, musicals, operas, each with its own auditory needs.

With this in mind,


did some research and finally decided to install 74

Création Baumann

blinds, which were chosen for their sound-absorbing characteristics. Richter’s acoustic engineer conducted numerous tests to identify the specific textile that would fit the requirements, which also included flexibility. The custom black blinds are “non visible” behind the main wall cladding of wire mesh, and can be individually controlled. The plane of the blinds can be adjusted depending on the direction of the music, so the sound is absorbed exactly as required. When the walls need to reflect sound, for example, the blinds are rolled in.


also used textiles to manipulate sound when they worked on the Opernhaus Dortmund (Dortmund Opera House) where they faced the challenge of devising a way to reduce the sound level for the musicians while improving (heightening) the levels for the audience. The solution: To create a sound-transparent balustrade between the pit and the auditorium, which was covered with sound-absorbing textiles.

Aside from sound-absorbing,

Création Baumann

has also developed textiles that can absorb glare, heat, and UV rays. Could intelligent materials be next?

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