During a two-part expansion of its arts facilities, Middlesex School looked to expand, renovate, and improve their current spaces. The Rachel Carson Music and Campus Center opened in 2018 and the Bass Arts Pavilion and Danoff Center for the Visual Arts opened a year later in 2019. The design team, led by CBT, worked to provide the high caliber programs with appropriate spaces and to support both students and staff on their creative journeys. Acentech provided acoustics and audiovisual consulting services for the Bass Arts Pavilion and Danoff Center for the Visual Arts.

Acentech’s acoustics consultants provided the design team with recommendations regarding room acoustics, sound isolation, and mechanical noise control, with a particular focus on the reconfigured main stage theatre with balcony and orchestra pit, and the 150-seat black box theatre. Working with CBT and mechanical engineers at C3, we achieved very quiet conditions in both spaces despite their proximity to building mechanical equipment. Additionally, both spaces are acoustically well protected from activity elsewhere in the building, and circulation paths were planned carefully to ensure performances are not disturbed. Inside the main stage theatre, our consultants collaborated with CBT and theatre consultant Martin Vinik to carefully place and angle sound reflective surfaces to support unamplified speech. The result is a space in which child actors can be heard and clearly understood, without amplification, from anywhere in the room.

Our audiovisual consultants designed systems for the main stage theatre, black-box theatre, visual art studios, and classrooms. The design for both theatres provided for speech reinforcement, music playback, and large screen display systems. The main stage theatre features a left/center/right loudspeaker configuration. The center loudspeaker is primarily for speech reinforcement while the left and right are used to amplify the pit orchestra during musicals and for stereo playback of sound effects and other pre-recorded material. Outside the theatre entry doors, loudspeakers were placed to allow late arrivals or others to hear the performance before entering.

Working harmoniously, Acentech’s acoustics and audiovisual consultants ensured a thoughtful and optimal design for the renovated building. Regardless of the type of performance, number of presenters, or length of presentation, all audience members will fully appreciate the sound they are hearing and the space they are sitting in. The Bass Arts Pavilion and Danoff Center for the Visual Arts will continue to be a place of inspiration, motivation, and creation for years to come.

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