Built in 1902, the Kursaal Engelberg is a public hall with 400 seats (or 800 standing places), which is owned by two thirds by the municipality of Engelberg and one third by the tourism association of Engelberg and includes various ancillary rooms (seminar rooms, backstage rooms, event kitchen, foyer, etc.). Modernized twice in 1957 and 2010, the historic venue has become a popular cultural destination due to its rich ornamentation, excellent sound, and ongoing cultural and musical programming. WSDG’s services were retained during construction of new sections of the hotel that would be docked onto the concert hall.
The WSDG design team was tasked with a multitude of acoustical challenges. The primary goal was to maintain the excellent room acoustics of the hall during the extensive aesthetic repairs, cleanups and refresh. Furthermore, the hotel operations were asking for a critical connecting hallway to pass through the venue’s rear balcony, hence introducing a potentially significant structure borne and airborne noise source and transmission path. In addition, the A/V operations called for the implementation of a new technical control room in the rear of the venue that would work well in both open and closed state. The entire redesign was required to satisfy very demanding aesthetic and architectural integration criteria as the space is listed in the building heritage dossier.
The WSDG design team worked in respect of the hall’s original, effective ornamentation to maintain its existing sonic signature. The far wall of the hall was carefully materialized and designed so that no sounds from the fully decoupled rear connecting hallway between the hotel sections would be emitted out into the performance area. The compact ergonomic technical control room gives venue staff complete control of the hall’s audio, video and lighting systems, including the digitally controlled line array loudspeaker systems. WSDG also reviewed the specifications for the venue’s sound reinforcement systems and made upgrades to the HVAC systems for ongoing, noise-free, climate control.