Director, Architectural Acoustics Group
High Street Food Hall, designed by Gensler and opened in 2022, is an indoor atrium marketplace situated between two office buildings in Boston’s financial district.
The first building, a 24-story Art Deco-style tower, was completed in 1930. The second building, a 28-story office tower at 100 High Street, was completed in 1988, which was also when the 5 story, 20,000 sf indoor atrium space was inserted.
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 space into an upscale food hall and entertainment venue. Gensler brought Acentech on board to design the acoustics and AV systems.
Our consultants addressed the problematic acoustics — reverberation due to hard surfaces, and poor sound isolation to the adjacent offices. A green wall with twinkling lights and acoustical panels in the plant-filled window boxes enliven the space visually, while providing important acoustical absorption.
Our AV team designed audiovisual systems for the food hall, including the common seating areas as well as the central large atrium space. Because each of the areas within the overall space were acoustically dissimilar (from having different geometries and finishes) the speakers throughout the main seating areas had to be independently zoned. Also the Atrium required a comprehensive speaker and sub-woofer system, which includes a microphone for announcements and presentations, and an ADA-compliant assistive listening system. Related to the video system, they 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