Performance Space Designs that Deserve a Standing Ovation

These projects show the many ways to approach acoustic design challenges

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the design approach for the National Sawdust performance space.
  2. Understand the role glazing can play in acoustic design as demonstrated by the projects highlighted in this course.
  3. List two strategies to control acoustics used in the Shanghai International Dance Center project.
  4. Explain the strategies used to achieve a Platinum WELL standard rating for the ASID headquarters in Washington, DC.


1 AIA LU/Elective
AAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
This course can be self-reported to the AANB, as per their CE Guidelines
AAPEI 1 Structured Learning Hour
MAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
This course can be self-reported to the NLAA.
This course can be self-reported to the NSAA
NWTAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
OAA 1 Learning Hour
SAA 1 Hour of Core Learning
This course can be self-reported to the AIBC, as per their CE Guidelines.
This course is approved as a Structured Course
This course can be self-reported to the AANB, as per their CE Guidelines
Approved for structured learning
Approved for Core Learning
This course can be self-reported to the NLAA
Course may qualify for Learning Hours with NWTAA
Course eligible for OAA Learning Hours
This course is approved as a core course
This course can be self-reported for Learning Units to the Architectural Institute of British Columbia
This test is no longer available for credit

This course is part of the Acoustics Academy

Below are a set of links to building type studies from Architectural Record, which are in-depth analyses of particular kinds of buildings, with photos, drawings, specifications, detailed descriptions, and design solutions. Click on each link below, read the article then complete the quiz to earn your credit and certificate of completion.

These projects demonstrate the wide range of solutions available to tackle the acoustic challenges or requirements of project. From traditional performance spaces to modern workplaces, learn the benefits of focusing on acoustics.

Linde Center for Music and Learning by William Rawn Associates
The 24,000-square-foot Linde Center project, Tanglewood’s first major construction in 25 years, focused on acoustics and a desire for the simple forms characteristic of this cultural icon.
Beth Broome

National Sawdust
This experimental writing, recording and performance space in an old brick warehouse chose box-in-box construction, created based on extensive computer modeling and meticulous acoustic testing.
Anna Fixsen

Ruth Caplin Theatre, University of Virginia
Learn about the unique approach—using glass—taken by designers to control and enhance the acoustics in this 5,500 square foot, semicircular room.
Joann Gonchar

Perkins+Will Crafts Noise-Control Spaces for ASID Headquarters
Noise-control strategies were as important to this project as the layout and a crucial component in achieving the WELL Building Standard.
Sheila Kim

Standing Ovation
Highlighted in this article are three international venues created with an ear toward acoustics and attention to the audience experience.
Ashleigh VanHouten

Andermatt Concert Hall by Studio Seilern Architects Opens in Switzerland
Beyond the windowless box of most concert halls, this project’s extensive glazing allows for panoramic views, while cloud-like acoustic reflectors on the ceiling also function as art.
Sheila Kim

Performance Space

Photo @ Robert Benson


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Originally published in December 2019