The Puerto Madero (old port) in Buenos Aires has for years been an area of rebirth and architectural revitalization. It is home to numerous new restaurants, media businesses, clubs and hotels. As a part of Alan Faena’s real estate undertakings in Puerto Madero, the new Faena Arts Center includes the renewal of the historic building of Los Molinos Food Company.
Built in 1908 this unique space was the warehouse for a great deal of the food that Argentina exported to the world at the beginning of last century. This extraordinary building is one of the last jewels that has not being demolished of the pot area, and now has been converted into a new office and residential complex.
The flagship portion of the project, which is the heart of the complex, has a total of 20,000 sq ft. It has been converted into a multipurpose events hall, with all of the aesthetical characteristics of the Faena trademark.
Acoustics and Isolation
The most serious acoustic challenge was the creation of 100% isolation between the two event halls, each requiring high SPL levels and simultaneous 24/7 operations for trade shows, concerts, weddings, etc. Additionally, there exists the even more difficult issue of the adjacent luxury apartments located directly on top of these two halls. Alan Faena’s directive was simple “… no matter what’s going on at the Halls, we need ZERO impact on the apartments…¨
With that directive in place, WSDG proposed and designed a fully decoupled and isolated “box in box” solution, similar to recording studio technology, except with the added challenge of scale. Executing this type construction technology for a space of this magnitude (the main hall is 164ft. in length x 80ft. in width x 45ft. in height) with oversized windows and doors required precise detailing and construction coordination. Work was performed with local Architect Mike McCormack and his team of consultants. The isolation design parameters were to allow a levels of 105 dbA inside the hall with no audible impact at bedrooms immediately adjacent to the space – a mere 3 feet away.
The independent concrete slab was created using technology from CDM (Belgium manufactures) for full floor decoupling. The drywall system consists of metal stud reinforced structural system, designed to allow the walls to reach a height of over 25 ft high). Additional isolation structural design was required for the ceilings to accommodate the theatrical lighting and other media hanging point loads.
Internal Room Acoustics
As the space will be used primarily as Art Exhibition and Performance Venue, the curator requested an internal acoustic treatment solution that would allow a high degree of clean smooth wall surfacing. This requirement, added to a full marble floor and very large exterior windows, presented a difficult challenge in controlling the naturally high reverberation time (initially calculated at over 3 seconds)
The final solution called for the majority of the room’s acoustic absorption to be obtained form a stretched fabric ceiling with over 20 inches of concealed acoustic baffling. This was inserted above the room’s technical catwalk, continuing the present the appearance of a room with smooth surfaces, while greatly reducing the reverb time – allowing for increased speech intelligibility.