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Jaffe Holden helps bring Academy Museum of Motion Pictures alive
17 Dec 2021 . BY Magali Robathan
Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics for the Academy Museum / Jaffe Holden
Acoustical consulting firm Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics and audio/video design services for the recently opened Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in LA, US.

Working closely with the project team that included Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Gensler, Buro Happold, WHY Architects (exhibit design), and Paratus Group, Jaffe Holden spent several years working with the museum team on the 300,000 square foot venue, which features the 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater, 288-seat Ted Mann Theater, Shirley Temple Education Studio, and a range of exhibition spaces.

In the 1,000-seat Geffen Theater, the design directive of Renzo Piano was to express and celebrate the functionality of audio/video systems and to “reveal the machine.” All equipment is exposed in plain view and contrasted by the red theatre, which features a double-curved baffled wall and tall columns of speakers for more articulation and control of the sound. Jaffe Holden worked with Dolby to develop a custom Atmos system that accommodates the non-traditional architecture of this space. According to the acoustic team: “This highly advanced system is more complex than any other in existence, with more than 40 surround speakers and subwoofers mounted to overhead beams and catwalks and placed behind the curved screen to bring full bandwidth reproduction around the audience.”

The 288-seat Ted Mann Theater utilises an acoustically box-in-box construction, and has many of the same technical features as the Geffen Theater, including double-paned glass surrounding the projection room to minimize glare and isolate sound between the audience and the production.

“As with the Geffen Theater, underneath the Ted Mann Theater is a large plenum space with noisy mechanicals and air distribution systems. Because these theaters had to be designed to the same standard as world class concert halls, sound isolation was crucial in our design,” said Mark Holden, chairman at Jaffe Holden. “We overcame these challenges to eliminate the faint rumbling of an HVAC system like you would hear in a noisy cineplex in the middle of a hot summer. These spaces are designed intentionally so that every nuance of a film’s sound is audible, as the director and sound designer intended when creating their finished product.”

Inclusive audio design and accessibility was a priority for every space; Induction loop systems enable sound to be beamed directly into hearing aid devices through a magnetic field within the theaters, public spaces, and the ticket and information booths. Assisted listening systems are integrated into the museum exhibits, enabling sound to be transmitted directly into patrons’ hearing aids.





Mark Holden is chair at Jaffe Holden / Credit: Jaffe Holden
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