Roy Thomson Hall’s Enhancement Project
by Damian Doria | November 14, 2010
For me, Roy Thomson Hall’s enhancement project is among our most satisfying accomplishments at Artec. When the hall reopened in Fall 2002, a mere 22-weeks after closing for renovation, its resident companies finally had the acoustic and patron amenities they wanted. Looking back, the modest $24 Million (Canadian) project cost stands in sharp contrast to the stunning new architecture and acoustics, and remains a benchmark for the value we strive to provide all our clients.
The efficiency of renovating a great architectural building like Thomson Hall, rather than abandoning or razing it is very appealing. However, the Toronto Symphony, Mendelssohn Choir and other regular presenting groups had always found the acoustics of the venue less than optimal for their needs, and often longed for the acoustics qualities of Massey Hall, their former home. Our ability to develop significant improvements within the constraints of Thomson Hall’s existing conditions drew upon our experience in numerous other projects -- key materials and geometry for excellent sightlines and acoustics, methods of quieting air systems and other infrastructure, and flexible staging and performance systems to support programming.
Through the years of study and design, I attended many performances of classical symphony, symphonic pops, choir, film and amplified presentations. Visiting the hall now, I’m reminded of those great performances, but find the experience vastly improved. It’s also gratifying to find many of the people involved in the enhancement project, most of which transpired more than a decade ago, still attending performances. Clearly the team of architects, engineers, construction and cost managers brought their best efforts to the project because of their deep love for live performance and their community.