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Aronoff Center for the Arts

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA


Cesar Pelli Associates, Architect; New Haven, CT
GBBN Architects, Architect of Record; Cincinnati, OH
Theatre Projects Consultants, Theatre Consultant; South Norwalk, CT

Project Awards

1997 AIA Connecticut - Honor Award for Design Excellence
1997 USITT - Honor Award for Architecture
1996 AIA National - Honor Award

Project Description

The Aronoff Center for the Arts in Cincinnati, Ohio, is a multi-use complex that features three performance spaces: the 2,719-seat Procter & Gamble Hall; the 437-seat Jarson-Kaplan Theater; and the 150-seat Fifth Third Bank Theater. The acoustic challenges of the design centered around flexibility for the variety of programming in the individual spaces and simultaneous use of spaces and loading facilities within the complex.

The Jarson-Kaplan Theater is an intimate proscenium theater with seating on three balconies. Acoustic curtains are located at each level and are used to change the acoustic character of the room from a recital space with moderate reverberation to an acoustically dry space for amplified music and drama.

The Procter & Gamble Hall was designed with sufficient volume and appropriate wall and ceiling geometries to accommodate unamplified symphonic music, opera and ballet. Velour curtains and banners are deployed to change the acoustic character of the space for amplified drama, popular music, musical theater, and touring productions. The ceiling of the hall is constructed of perforated metal to allow unobstructed flow of sound between the lower seating area and attic space while providing the architect freedom of design to shape the ceiling in a series of concave arches. Plaster reflectors suspended above the sound-transparent ceiling and sidewall seating boxes at the front half of the room provide early sound reflections to all seating locations.

Construction of the building in three independent structural sections and the use of massive construction surrounding each space provide isolation between the performance spaces on the tight site. Site constraints required that mechanical and electrical rooms be located on upper levels of the building, creating the need for extensive areas of isolation construction consisting of floated concrete floors and resiliently supported walls and ceilings. Simultaneous use of loading areas and performance spaces required the incorporation of double, large sound control doors to create vestibules between spaces required to be directly adjacent to each other on the site. Control of noise from the urban site into the building and from the building mechanical systems to neighboring sites was also a factor in the design.

In 1997, the Aronoff Center for the Arts received an Honor Award for Design Excellence from the AIA Connecticut. In 1996, the project was recognized with two awards. The first was the AIA Cincinnati, which bestowed the Aronoff Center for the Arts with a Design Award; the second was the USITT, which gave the project an Honor Award for design.

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