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Tuesday 27 February 2018

Third year students on the Architectural Acoustic Design module had the opportunity to explore the acoustic design of the Lighthouse Centre, Poole, led by Peter Rogers from Sustainable Acoustics, who managed the acoustic design of a £5 million refit of the space in 2016.

The Lighthouse Centre is the home of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, and in addition to its main concert hall, houses a cinema, a theatre, a multipurpose drama-music studio and meeting rooms.  Students from the BEng (Hons) Audio and Acoustic Engineering, BSc (Hons) Live Sound Technology and BSc (Hons) Audio Engineering courses were given a backstage technical tour of the facilities by Peter and Martyn Balson, the general manager of the Lighthouse Centre.

On the tour students explored the main performance areas, and discussed the problems and challenges that needed to be addressed during the refit.   They also examined the acoustics of the public spaces such as entrances and bars, the backstage areas, the dressing rooms and meeting rooms, and the importance of addressing acoustic performance issues in these in order to improve the overall functionality of the centre – rather than only focusing on the performance spaces.

After the tour, the group then moved into the main concert hall for a fascinating lecture on acoustic design for concert halls, using the Lighthouse centre as a specific case study.   This made a great venue for the talk, seated in the main concert hall space, which was lit up for the purposes.   Peter covered both theoretical and practical aspects of the design process – including the necessity of promoting the importance of acoustic requirements to architects and venue management.

Thanks to Peter, Martyn and the Lighthouse Centre for providing us with such fascinating insights.

Top: students explore the main auditorium. Bottom: Peter introduces the theory and challenges of the refit