Director, Architectural Acoustics Group
High Street Food Hall is an indoor atrium marketplace situated between two office buildings, a 24-story Art Deco-style tower built in 1930 and a 28-story office tower built in 1988, located in Boston’s financial district.
When these properties were purchased together, it allowed the reimagining of the 5-story, 20,000 sf connecting indoor atrium space into a new amenity destination for the office tenants.
The original atrium space suffered from ‘bad acoustics’ and as such, it was under-utilized for decades. Rockpoint Group developers hired design firms Gensler and Groundswell Design to transform the atrium into an upscale food hall and entertainment venue. Gensler engaged Acentech to design the acoustics and AV systems.
Acentech addressed the problematic acoustics and worked to tame the excessive reverberation from the many hard surfaces. Our 3DListening® model was critical in the design process, inviting ownership into the critical decisions, and providing the project team audible proof that the recommended sound absorption would work. A green wall with twinkling lights and acoustical panels in the plant-filled window boxes enliven the space visually, while providing the necessary acoustical absorption. Sound absorbing ceiling panels occur throughout. Acentech also assessed sound isolation to the adjacent offices and supported Rockpoint’s decisions regarding window selections and upgrades.
Our AV team designed audiovisual systems for the food hall, including the common seating areas, as well as the central large atrium space. Given the areas within the overall atrium were acoustically dissimilar (from having different geometries and finishes) speakers throughout the seating areas had to be independently zoned. The atrium also required a comprehensive speaker and sub-woofer system, with a microphone for announcements and presentations, and an ADA-compliant assistive listening system. The design team also conducted an ambient light level study, to understand how different kinds of display technologies might fare in the large, sunlit space.
The new outdoor patio is accessible via a retractable window wall system to bring the outside in, and the inside out. High Street Place now boasts 20 food and drink vendors, described as ‘creative and cutting edge’ by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. The amplified music and overall sound has received good reviews, promoting High Street Place as fun, comfortable and entertaining destination.
“We have been hosting live music all week and everyone keeps commenting on how amazing the sound is, while still being able to maintain a casual conversation.”– Lauren Johnson, Marketplace Manager, High Street Place Food Hall