Pasanella+Klein Stolzman+Berg Architects
Sheila Kim-Jamet -- Interior Design, 5/1/2005 12:00:00 AM
Roughly 1,140 birch plywood acoustical panels, wrapped in poly-cotton blend fabric, went into Pasanella + Klein Stolzman + Berg Architects' interior design for the Juliet J. Rosch Recital Hall in the music department of the State University of New York at Fredonia. In addition to creating the striking plywood grid, marrying texture and function, the architects employed a stage of Douglas fir and seats veneered with birch for the new 57,000-square-foot hall. Forest- green velour covers chairs and serves as curtains for a memorable dash of color. Principal J. Arvid Klein recalls the work.
What's the directive here?
JAK: A fresh architectural expression for the music complex that includes the existing concert space, while making the new recital hall the centerpiece. Key factors were the seating for 500 and space requirements for performances ranging from soloists to choral ensembles.
What was the biggest challenge?
JAK: The architectural expression of the hall, once the numbers had been established.
How did the limitations affect your design?
JAK: The limitations informed and animated the solutions. We needed a hall that was lush and warm, and even reminiscent, in principle, of its antecedents. Traditionally, this was achieved with pilasters, paneling, and surface decoration. We explored the development of a small-scale acoustical grid that produced the necessary sound-scattering but also a texture more akin to traditional halls. Additional acoustical scattering was achieved through the collective effect of small-scale variations within the overall grid.
So, does this reinvent the concert hall?
JAK: In principle, no. The methodology was the same. But what was unusual was extensive use of Finnish birch plywood—a material that imparts an overall sense of lightness and warmth.
Was that, in fact, your most innovative use of material?
JAK: Yes. Its character determined the overall experience of the hall. We allowed its end grain to remain exposed and did not trim it or cover it up, as is always done with plywood. Instead, it was finely sanded and lacquered with the soft gloss normally used on exposed surfaces.
With all the wood, how did you select the green accents?
JAK: A number of factors: availability, function, and identity. It was a standard color from the manufacturer, which would simplify repair and replacement, if necessary. And seats had to be dark enough to conceal some dirt and staining from repeated use.
And how about the tie-in with identity?
JAK: Typically when you think of auditoriums and recital halls, you see red—for the carpet, upholstery, and curtains. We felt the green would be distinctive and memorable. We also found that the tone looked best with the pale, white birch.