It’s all about the sound! The new Melbourne Recital Hall named after the great philanthropist Dame Elizabeth Murdoch has been designed to achieve a perfection in sound not seen for some time in modern recital hall design.
The architectural response by Melbourne architects Ashton Raggatt McDougall (ARM) takes this challenge and has produced a hall that, while simplistic in its form, has a life, a grain and warmth that creates a richness of surface and sound.
The rigorous acoustic program flowed through all elements of the hall with ply-wood panels used as the main surface treatment to enhance the sound for both performer and audience alike. Indeed this carries even to the chandeliers, designed by ARM as a feature for the hall the lighting elements still needed to adhere to acoustic program.
ARM enlisted the talents of Electrolight to assist in the lighting while Big Fish were brought in to build the elements. Ronstan was engaged by Big Fish to assist with the suspension of the chandeliers, which presented a challenge due to the irregular form of the lighting elements.
This form meant that the centre of balance was not necessarily plum with the centre of the chandelier. Tolerance within the suspension would need to be precise to ensure that once erected they would not tilt. Ronstan ARS3 bars were chosen for their high level of finish while providing a strength and minimal diameter allowing the lighting elements to float above the audience.
Ronstan developed custom connections for the suspension rods achieve a three way detail that does not detract from the spectacle below. The spacer elements that separate the “shelves” of the chandelier were designed by Big Fish and produced by Ronstan in Aluminium to keep the weight of the installation down.
The Chandeliers achieve continuity within the space, adding further layers of texture through materiality and light. The high strength and fine tolerances of the Ronstan components keep those solid components within the lighting to a minimum.
With their high strength, the Ronstan ARS3 bars and aluminium spacers allow the Chandeliers to further enhance the clarity of the hall through sight and sound.