Polshek Partnership, Design Architect; New York, NY
HDR Architects, Architect; Omaha, NE
Fisher/Dachs Associates, Inc., Theatre Consultant; New York, NY
2007 - USITT Architecture Awards - Merit Award
2007 - AIA Nebraska - Citations: New Construction & Honorable Mention Award for Details
This 2000-seat hall is the home for the Omaha Symphony. The space serves the orchestra’s classical series and pops performances, as well as chamber music and popular events.
The narrow shoebox shape of the Peter Kiewit Concert Hall creates an intimate experience for audience and performers, providing clarity and immediacy to sound. The high ceiling and large volume allows full, rich reverberation to develop. Large capacity pops performances drove the need for innovative orchestra and chorus configurations, and incorporated relocatable seating zones. Special window construction was used to allow natural light into the concert hall while maintaining isolation for performance and recording.
Omaha’s hall incorporates a variety of adjustable acoustic and diffusive elements, which are well-integrated into its design. Custom plaster diffusive wall panels were extensively studied to evaluate their sound reflective and absorptive characteristics. Natural untreated felt is a key component of the room’s acoustic banner system, which allows the reverberation time of the space to be modified to suit individual performances. The adjustable canopy over the stage provides early reflections to the stage and audience, with a fixed outer ring establishing an architectural line. A loudspeaker cluster can be flown in through the canopy for amplified events.
KA worked extensively during the design process to develop and test a 1:16 physical model to confirm the room’s “modified shoebox” configuration. Additional scale model testing and computer analyses were conducted to inform the adjustable acoustic elements.
The project also incorporates the Suzanne & Walter Scott Recital Hall, a separate chamber music / recital hall to serve as an orchestra rehearsal space, and to host banquets, receptions, exhibits and other social functions. Omaha’s Orpheum Theatre, a 1928-vintage vaudeville house, was also renovated as part of the project.