To make the venue offer a strong experience for concerts, Seattle Center arena project officials are carefully planning the facility’s acoustics.
Oak View Group is leading and financing a $900 million-plus construction project at KeyArena, with the venue’s distinguished roof line left intact as construction crews dig down 15 feet to create more interior space and modern facilities. Once it opens in 2021, the arena will be home to the WNBA’s Storm and an NHL expansion team. It is also being designed to accommodate an NBA franchise should one ever land in Seattle.
One of the key intentions behind the arena, though, is to create a venue that offers a strong experience for concerts in addition to sporting events. To accomplish that goal, project officials–including lead sound and acoustic engineer Brian Elwell–are planning several measures that are intended to put the arena’s acoustics at the same quality level as venue’s such as Inglewood’s Forum. These details–which were discussed during a public event on Tuesday night–should not only accomplish that goal, but create a significantly improved experience for concerts than what KeyArena has traditionally offered. More from King 5:
Elwell pointed to plans to dramatically alter the undercarriage of the KeyArena roof, which is being preserved as part of the project. He noted the main trusses are 7.5 feet deep, and how OVG will install dozens of 7.5-foot-tall “vertical lapendary baffles” to match the depth, which are all 4 inches thick.
There will also be a perforated metal panel on both sides of the side, upper deck, and below a viewing bridge. Elwell said this will allow fans in the upper deck to play a part in the noise in the bowl during a hockey game.
The group will also be installing retractable acoustic curtains in addition to a blackout curtain that will be separated by several feet. It’s a way to help open up the bowl and make it louder during games while muting the echo during concerts. The 40′ tall acoustic curtain will be 7 feet away from the other.
All told, Elwell said it will reduce the reverb from the old KeyArena by half and put it on par with the Forum.
Once the venue is completed, the Seattle area will have several solid arenas in place for major concerts, including the Seattle Center facility and a recently enhanced Tacoma Dome. Project officials are hoping that construction at KeyArena will be completed by the summer of 2021.
Rendering courtesy Oak View Group.
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