RAPPERSWIL-JONA, SWITZERLAND, August 17, 2023 — Located in the heart of Switzerland’s picturesque ‘City of Roses’ on the banks of Lake Zurich, the ENTRA residential and commercial complex has rapidly established itself as a center of bustling social and commercial activity. One of the chief features of the complex is its state-of-the-art events venue. The foundation of the complex’s design encompasses a modular space that can be configured to serve a versatile array of community programming needs including live music performances, corporate events, and cultural events. To ensure that the space would excel in all of these applications with high quality acoustics and sound reinforcement, the ENTRA leadership turned to global acoustic architectural consulting and A/V systems design firm WSDG (Walters-Storyk Design Group).
The best of both worlds
The 1050-capacity events space was designed by architecture office Bucher Partner with general contracting by Methabau and AV systems integration by Event AG. The goal of modular versatility was paramount given the wide variety of events that ENTRA's management wanted to be capable of hosting. “It was our desire to establish an event space that would meet the highest technical, acoustic, and visual standards,” explained Martin Céréda, ENTRA’s Head of Production. “Our concept for the space was to have state-of-the-art acoustic and electroacoustic systems tuned and permanently installed to achieve a ‘ready to play’ setting for the high density of events we have planned.”
The WSDG design team, led by WSDG Director of Acoustics Gabriel Hauser, was tasked with fine tuning room acoustics and electroacoustics for the new space. They immediately set to work addressing the challenge of designing a package that could accommodate the complex array of venue configurations and corresponding event types. These use cases included: utilizing the space as a live music venue that made full use of the expansive room with its large stage and; live speaking engagements where the stage could be lowered to floor level or repurposed as seating for the audience. Furthermore a combination of speaking and music events where the area under the venue’s balcony could be partitioned from the main hall using sliding wall elements designed with a high Sound Transmission Class (STC) and absorptive, micro-perforated fronts. “It quickly became clear that the hall would be used for contemporary music performances just as much as for live speaking engagements -- two types of events that have very different needs from a room acoustics and sound reinforcement perspective," said Hauser. "Therefore we worked to design a spatial and electro-acoustic infrastructure that could meet both of these needs and more, while also choosing technical support systems with robustness and longevity to ensure that they will be able to hold up throughout all of these frequent changes."
"We were able to put together a package for ENTRA that was truly the best of both worlds, in some cases quite literally."
On the front lines of forward-thinking events spaces
The WSDG design team recommended a reorientation of the stage and reshaping of the balcony to redirect sound reflections away from the stage at the start of the project to optimize the acoustic profile of the room. The improved angles direct sound towards acoustic absorption in the ceiling thus ensuring a more organic listening experience for the audience. The team also installed a slotted Helmholtz Resonator behind the stage for improved low frequency control. The resulting stage sound is very controlled with a low reverberation time.
The acoustic treatments for the space were developed in close collaboration with Bucher Partner to seamlessly integrate them into the walls and ceiling of the room. Five different absorber materials with complimentary, frequency-specific behavior were utilized in the walls and ceiling to create the desired effect, with acoustic curtains also available to reconfigure the room as needed. "The array of acoustic treatments we utilized ultimately were quite complex in order to properly support how the venue can be reconfigured for different events," said Hauser. "Despite that, they were carefully designed to fit into the architecture of the space so that they complement how it looks without being distracting to patrons."
For sound reinforcement two separate line array systems were chosen for maximum versatility -- one for use during live musical performances, and another for speaking events. The main system consists of six L’Acoustics K3 line arrays supplemented by a trio of Kara II front fills and four KS21i 21" subwoofers per side. The speech system that also needs to cover the stage area utilized a pair of Tannoy Q-Flex line arrays on the back wall with different beam-steering settings depending on the room setting. Both have access to a supplementary bank of mobile L'Acoustics X8 loudspeakers for near fills at the edge of the stage. Combined, the system has the capability of meeting the needs of any event in the venue. “This was one of the first event spaces to make use of the then new L-Acoustics K3 systems and we are extremely happy with the result: a tight sounding system with great room interaction and very high speech intelligibility”.
With a rapidly growing calendar boasting over 200 events per year, the ENTRA venue is already living up to its promise as a fresh and exciting events venue for the surrounding community. ENTRA's management sees this influx as merely the beginning of what the new space is capable of. “The new systems allow our customers to focus completely on the events being held and we are able to achieve maximum utilization of the space with a minimum of conversion time,” stated Céréda. “We are very pleased with the results, and with the room acoustics implemented by WSDG, we are setting new standards for event locations of this size on a national level.”
"We're incredibly proud to be on the front line of participating in the creation of forward-thinking event spaces such as this," said WSDG General Manager, Europe, Dirk Noy. "ENTRA is a very high quality complex and we look forward to seeing the ambitious program of events that they have planned there.”
For more information about WSDG, please visit: http://www.wsdg.com/
ABOUT WSDG, LLC
WSDG (Walters-Storyk Design Group) is an 11-time TEC award-winning international firm specializing in architectural acoustic consulting and media systems engineering. Pioneering architect/acoustician, John Storyk (AIA), founded the company in 1969 with the creation of Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Lady Studios in New York City’s Greenwich Village.
WSDG provides a wide portfolio of design and consulting services that support architectural projects during all phases. Our international team of consultants have provided timely, detailed and cost-effective advice on highly sensitive and complex architectural construction and renovation projects, from small but critical retrofits to challenging ground up construction projects. WSDG has extensive experience with sensitive architectural issues including historical renovations, additions and new construction projects in media production, corporate, government, transportation, education, broadcasting and cultural / entertainment sectors.
Past clients include Jay-Z, Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys, J Cole, and Jack Antonoff, corporate entities such as Spotify, Sony, CBS, Novartis, and IBM, and global governmental AV installations as well as educational institutions such as Berklee College of Music, UCLA, University of Music Vienna, and NYU.