Architecture and acoustics combined to perfection:
The new cultural center of Lugano opens its doors to the public

The new cultural center of Lugano, the LAC Lugano Arte e Cultura, and its new theater hall will be inaugurated with a very diverse and appealing series of events. Thanks to the cooperation of architect Ivano Gianola and Müller-BBM, architecture and acoustics are combined to perfection.

From September 12 to 27, 2015, the public can enjoy two inaugural weeks of theater, ballet, musical as well as artistic performances in the new theater. The LAC houses both the Museo d’Arte della Svizzera italiana and a new theater and concert hall. As a result of the synergy between the architect Ivano Gianola and the acoustics experts of Müller-BBM, one of the leading acoustical consulting firms worldwide, this new hall perfectly merges form, function and extraordinary acoustics.

The great variety of the inauguration events makes it possible for the audience to directly experience the qualities of the new theater which has been designed meticulously for ensuring a maximum visual as well as auditory enjoyment. The festivities will start with the theatrical performance "La Verità" by the Compagnia Finzi Pasca, and will end with Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, performed by the Orchestra della Svizzera italiana and the Coro della Radiotelevisione Svizzera, directed by Maestro Ashkenazy.

The close collaboration between architect Ivano Gianola and the acoustical consultants of Müller-BBM started as early as in the theater's schematic design phase in 2002 and led to the harmonious combination of architectural elements and technical measures. The result: excellent acoustics.

"We have created a brilliant, vibrant and enveloping sound," says Jürgen Reinhold of Müller-BBM, responsible for the acoustical design. "The basis was formed by various elements which can be found in historical theaters: the structured wall surfaces, inspired by antique decor, help create a soft sound, and the wooden floor structure makes it possible for the audience to feel the music's vibrations in the entire body." Like a musical instrument, the auditorium is entirely clad in pear wood.

The characteristics of a vanguard auditorium which can be converted from a concert hall into a theater hall, completely protected against external noise

With a volume of almost 10,000 m³, the hall seats up to 1,000 and can be converted from a concert hall for large symphonic orchestras into a theater hall for drama, opera and ballet performances – with excellent acoustics for the respective type of event. For classical music concerts, an orchestra shell is mounted on stage, and by means of acoustically effective curtains, the reverberation time can be adjusted to the most diverse requirements. For opera performances, an orchestra pit has been installed which accommodates up to 70 musicians.

Müller-BBM's acoustical design also included all measures necessary to protect the auditorium against external noise and to ensure an unrestricted simultaneous use of all LAC rooms. For this purpose, a so-called "acoustic joint" was installed which is a special structural measure for a complete sound insulation. "You could practically lift the auditorium out of the entire building," explains acoustical consultant Simone Conta from Müller-BBM who supervised the construction works. "This way, any sound transmissions – both from the theater as well as into the theater – are avoided."

The LAC building also includes some small halls as space to experiment. They may be used for theater as well as musical productions and for performances with a small audience. Furthermore, the Agorà at the feet of the hill behind the LAC is a wonderful open air venue.

LAC theater and concert hall with orchestra shell, © LAC 2015 – Picture: Studio Pagi
LAC theater and concert hall, view from the stage, © LAC 2015 – Picture: Studio Pagi
LAC exterior view, © LAC 2015 – Foto: Studio Pagi

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