Perth Concert Hall
Jeffrey Howlett and Don Bailey
1973 & 2008
The design of the Perth Concert Hall was initiated in 1968 by the City of Perth. The architects, working with acoustic consultant Sir Harold Marshall, produced a rectangular shoebox design with two balconies, seating 1,729 patrons. Opening on Australia Day 1973, Perth Concert Hall quickly established itself as one of Australia's most cherished performance venues.
Since the concert hall opened changes to the air conditioning, roofing material, restaurant areas and artist's facilities have been successfully completed to retain user comfort and operational efficiency.
In 2008 the decision was made to replace the audience seats in response to changing guidelines on public amenity and ongoing commitment to user comfort. Marshall Day Acoustics was engaged to provide advice on the replacement seats to ensure that the acoustical character of the Hall was not compromised.
Scope of Services
Our work started with benchmark measurements to document the room acoustic properties of the Hall, then assessing the absorption of the original seats. This step was accomplished using the facilities at The University of Auckland, also designed by Sir Harold Marshall. Advice was provided to the City of Perth, the architect and the successful tenderer for the seat manufacture, to produce a chair that would be compatible with the original acoustics while incorporating the required structural changes. Room acoustics measurements were repeated in the Hall following installation of the new seats to objectively verify the success of the project.
The most important test is the opinion of the users of the Hall. In February 2011 Music Critic Neville Cohn reported
"...the venue's superb acoustics are as fine as ever."
In August 2011 Perth Concert Hall was selected as Australia's Finest Hall based on the acoustic rating of 200 performers, critics and audience members. (Limelight magazine September 2011)
2016 WA Architecture Awards: The Richard Roach Jewell Award for Enduring Architecture
"If I had to single out one great concert hall in Australia, I would pick Perth. It's amazing...It's warm, giving and fair, without being muddy...Perth is honest without being cruel: it's a wonderful hall."