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Meyer Sound solves acoustic challenges at renovated cultural hub

Meyer Sound has provided audio solutions throughout the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), following a three-year expansion, with the museum set to open on 14 May.

SFMOMA will have nearly triple the gallery space, 45,000sqft of free public access areas, and a collection of modern and contemporary art on view.

A major part of the renovations is the redesigned Phyllis Wattis Theater, located at the heart of the museum where the original Mario Botta-designed building integrates with the Snøhetta-designed, 10-story addition. According to San Francisco-based EHDD, the architects tasked with the theatre renovation, a Meyer Sound Constellation acoustic system was the ideal solution to complex architectural and acoustic challenges.

Together with Meyer Sound cinema and reinforcement systems, Constellation supports a vast range of public events imagined for the Wattis Theater. The 275-seat theatre will host events ranging from film series, live music, and dance performances to educational lectures and panel discussions.

“We consulted with the designers and acousticians at Meyer Sound, who were able to create a Constellation system perfect for the space,” said Duncan Ballash, principal and president of EHDD. “Not only did Constellation ensure great acoustic results, but it gave the EHDD team the architectural freedom to design the room with a sleek and modern look, without sacrificing acoustical integrity. Ultimately, Constellation ended up inspiring and working integrally with the architectural design of the Wattis.”

A D-Mitri digital audio platform provides the backbone for Constellation in the Wattis Theater, and hosts the patented VRAS acoustic algorithm. This works in conjunction with 24 distributed microphones and 93 small, self-powered loudspeakers discreetly mounted on walls and ceiling.

“As an institution, we pride ourselves on working with the very best, from artists to architects, curators to chefs,” said Neal Benezra, Helen and Charles Schwab director of SFMOMA. “We’re willing to look globally for the finest, but we were so pleased to find world-class sound solutions just across the Bay at Meyer Sound. This is a collaboration that can grow along with the museum into the future.”

Multiple conference and meeting rooms throughout the new building also feature Meyer Sound solutions to provide intelligibility and sonic flexibility for a wide range of needs.

Three CAL column array loudspeakers with advanced beam-steering technology provide sound for various pop-up events in the Haas Jr. atrium.

A double-height event and performance space, the Gina and Stuart Peterson White Box will implement a UPJunior VariO loudspeaker system for anything from performance to site specific commissions.

UPJunior-XP VariO, UP-4XP, and Stella-8C installation loudspeakers combined with MM-10XP subwoofers provide optimum sound for K-12 programming in the Koret Education Center. The 4,800sqft space, featuring a resource library and two classrooms, will serve 55,000 K-12 school children and a new series of adult education classes annually.