LSBU acoustics expert lectures on Royal Festival Hall’s organ restoration
21 March 2014
Celebrating the re-inauguration of its 7,866-pipe organ this week, Professor Bridget Shield is to give a public lecture on the architectural and acoustics story of London's Royal Festival Hall.
Built in 1954, it has taken six years, £2.3 million and a team of experts to restore the Royal Festival Hall's organ to its former glory this week—exactly 60 years after its official opening following the Festival of Britain.
An extraordinary instrument, the organ is capable of creating everything from the delicate sounds used by French composer Messiaen to represent birdsong, to the bone-penetrating drama of Janaček's Glagolitic Mass where it is required to dominate a full orchestra.
As part of Southbank Centre's 'Pull Out All The Stops' re-inauguration festival, LSBU acoustics expert Professor Bridget Shield will give a public lecture exploring the design journey—and sometimes-controversial acoustic—of the hall.
"The first concert hall of its size in the world, the Royal Festival Hall is of great significance both architecturally and acoustically, and a landmark in concert hall design," explains Professor Shield.
"Many approaches to the acoustic design of concert halls, which are now standard practice in the construction of a new hall, were used for the first time in the design and building of the Royal Festival Hall.
"It is important that the enormous contribution made to acoustics research and design by the team of consultants involved in the building of the Royal Festival Hall is recognised and celebrated."
The Royal Festival Hall is of great significance both architecturally and acoustically, and a landmark in concert hall design.
Professor Bridget Shield, Faculty of Engineering, Science and the Built Environment
Professor Shield is widely published and consulted in environmental and architectural acoustics. She is president of the UK Institute of Acoustics and much of her recent research has focussed on the effects of noise and poor acoustics on children and teachers in primary and secondary schools.
The Royal Festival Hall features a unique 'egg in a box' design in which the auditorium is elevated and isolated from external noise. It was built for the Festival of Britain, celebrating the centenary of the 1851 Great Exhibition and Britain's emergence from the war years with a showcase of arts, science, technology and industrial design.
LSBU holds its graduation ceremonies in Royal Festival Hall, one of the world's elite performance venues and a short walk from LSBU's central London campus.