Friday, June 12, 2015

Composites and acoustics at the Bing Concert Hall

The 844-seat Bing Concert Hall

If you search the internet for 'architectural composite fabrication' you'll most likely come up with Kreysler & Associates from American Canyon, California. This company is the wizard of composite products in architecture and art.

A recent project is the Bing Concert Hall in Stanford, California. For this project Kreysler & Associates assisted in the design, shop drawings, engineering, fabrication, shipping, and installation of the acoustic panels, a composite of a glass fiber-reinforced polyester skin on top of steel-reinforced concrete.

The panels cover most of the performance hall's interior walls and ceiling. Kreysler made nine convex-shaped 'sails'-- four for each side and one for the end of the hall. The sails range in size from 26'x26' up to 35'x50'. "Each sail has a unique curvature, orientation, and shape," explains Serge Labesque, Kreysler's production engineer, in an interview for Composites World. Although the curvature is constant, the panels vary in size and the penetrations and other prominent features differ from panel to panel.

Kreysler & Associates also fabricated the elliptical ceiling, or 'cloud'.

The cloud's maximum length is 130'. It is made up of 80 unique panels that form a compound curve.

Also unique is the random rippled pattern designed into its surface. Its ridges diffuse and scatter sound.

With Rhino's aid, the large structures were divided into 120 manageable subsections, each conforming to the precise acoustic requirements.

Kreysler used Rhino for the majority of modeling tasks. Various plug-ins for Rhino played an important role, including Grasshopper and RhinoNest. "Generally speaking, software played some role in nearly every part of the project," says Zabel. "While were working with the architect, acoustician and engineer, 3D modeling software was a useful communication tool for illustrating ideas about the complex geometry as the design evolved," he explains. "For us, the software helped communicate ways in which making small changes to the geometry of the sails or the cloud could have effects on fabrication efficiency, and therefore cost."

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