Providing accommodation for three auditoria and a regional music school, the £70 million Sage, Gateshead is a key element of Tyneside’s regeneration.
Wood was used primarily for its aesthetic appearance, but also because it is easy to mould and has good acoustic properties. American ash for the main hall and European birch for the smaller hall and the rehearsal room are complemented by moulded plywood and sumptuous fabrics.
Based on the classic ‘shoebox’ shape, Hall one was designed to provide the optimum acoustic for a symphony orchestra, with surfaces shaped for the best sound diffusion and timber that is either very thick and/or directly bonded to the concrete structure to obviate low-frequency sound absorption. Wall surfaces incorporate a convex curvature (for low frequency distribution) and the timber battens diffuse the middle and high frequency sound. All other surfaces, including the balcony fronts and ceilings, also incorporate curvature and shaping to help promote sound diffusion.
Source: Supplied to wood for good by BRE in a pdf of case studies.