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    Sound Absorbing: Musiktheater im Revier

    the new materials story

    The main focus of the 2010 renovation of MiR (Musiktheater im Revier; Music Theatre in the Ruhr) in Gelsenkirchen, Germany was to improve the auditorium’s acoustics, said Britta Richter, an architect for Bock-Neuhaus Partner, who led the project. This didn’t mean a one-time, single-use upgrade since MiR is host to ballets, concerts, musicals, operas, each with its own auditory needs.
    With this in mind, Bock-Neuhaus did some research and finally decided to install 74 Création Baumann blinds, which were chosen for their sound-absorbing characteristics. Richter’s acoustic engineer conducted numerous tests to identify the specific textile that would fit the requirements, which also included flexibility. The custom black blinds are “non visible” behind the main wall cladding of wire mesh, and can be individually controlled. The plane of the blinds can be adjusted depending on the direction of the music, so the sound is absorbed exactly as required. When the walls need to reflect sound, for example, the blinds are rolled in.
    Bock-Neuhaus also used textiles to manipulate sound when they worked on the Opernhaus Dortmund (Dortmund Opera House) where they faced the challenge of devising a way to reduce the sound level for the musicians while improving (heightening) the levels for the audience. The solution: To create a sound-transparent balustrade between the pit and the auditorium, which was covered with sound-absorbing textiles.
    Aside from sound-absorbing, Création Baumann has also developed textiles that can absorb glare, heat, and UV rays. Could intelligent materials be next?