PEARSON THEATER AT MEYER SOUND

LOCATION: Berkeley, California
TYPOLOGY: Cultural
CLIENT: Meyer Sound
SQUARE FOOTAGE: 1,500 SFT
PHOTOGRAPHS: Billy Hustace | Sharon Risedorph

The client for this theater forms the gold standard in the world of cutting edge, most advanced sound technology. The theater was commissioned to showcase and demonstrate the company’s steady stream of cutting edge technologies to clients, music artists, and fellow industry professionals. Furthermore, the theater needed an outstanding acoustical environment for multiple purposes (film, video, live speech, live music, etc.) The design called for an architectural expression that complements the aural experience and embodies the company’s own synthesis of creativity with excellence. The space meets the myriad technical requirements while still producing an aesthetic that is simultaneously warm and high-tech.

The theater contains 80 fixed and movable seats, a sound-proof control booth, storage area, light / sound lock, and film screen. A gently raked central bank of fixed seating rises above the foyer and the spaces housing electrical, lighting, and equipment controls. The control / projection booth is located at the top level of the theater seating. Given the clients’ exacting technical standards, the construction details were not only painstakingly designed for sound, but the space was tested throughout construction to confirm and fine-tune the room acoustics. The architects worked closely with the client company’s technical and acoustical staff and with a consulting acoustical engineer to integrate architectural expression with technical goals.

The concept presents a partnership between sight (modern architectural design) and sound (leading edge audio-visual technology) to best relay the spirit and excellence of the client company’s innovative technologies. To this end, design choices and materials for the project had to be doubly optimized to perform aesthetically and acoustically. The theater's A/V equipment and controls are designed to seamlessly integrate with the architecture, and fixtures are chosen to emphasize the room’s high-tech aesthetic. Due to its outstanding combination of visual and acoustical properties, the facility has become far more versatile than the client anticipated. The Mayor of the City has asked the Owners to use the theater as the location of his yearly State of the City speech. Renowned performers (opera singer, string quartet) have used the theater as a recording studio. Lectures, films for entertainment and education alike, fill the schedule for the theater.


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