Cinema and sound engineering: A new sound for the Amerikahaus
After the Second World War, a string of Amerikahaus venues was opened across Germany, as ‘Dependences; of the United States Information Agency. The aim was to communicate the history of America to the Germans, and to impart a firm understanding of democracy. The Amerikahaus in Munich opened its doors in 1948, in the building on Arcisstrasse previously occupied by the Führer. In 1957, it located to the site of the destroyed Lotzbeck Palace on Karolinenplatz, its location to the present day, in a building constructed specifically for this purpose by the Bavarian Landbauamt [the Federal Building Office].
Today it is a Bavarian cultural institution, an open house dedicated to fostering good transatlantic relations and American research. It is now run by a Bavarian foundation, Stiftung Bayerisches Amerikahaus gGmbH, which is the largest such institution in Germany.
The comprehensive range of events it offers includes lectures, discussions, seminars, exhibitions, concerts, literature readings, films and theatre events, all held in English. Each year, these events are attended by about 50,000 people.
Four years of complete refurbishment
It is therefore not surprising that, during the complete refurbishment work conducted over the last four years, particular importance was attached to the technical equipment, especially new cinema technology and surround sound as well as an extended event sound system in the listed environment of the large theatre auditorium. OBERMEYER was appointed by the Staatliches Bauamt Munich I for the complete planning of these aspects, from defining the fundamentals through to supervising the construction work.
Specifically, this involved the definition of requirements, an evaluation of the acoustics and, finally, planning of the entire surround-sound and events-based sound engineering as well as media control with all the interfaces required, all in full compliance with the listed status of this venue. Demanding aesthetic and functional requirements also had to be taken into consideration.
Listed building status was the greatest of these challenges because this renders it impossible to work with conventional big loudspeaker systems. Instead, the systems selected need to be as small as possible.
Ingenious sound control technology for individual applications
Projects like this one are supported by ‘Technical Equipment SOUTH’, part of OBERMEYER Planen and Beraten GmbH. This involves specialists from the Audio, Video & Broadcasting Technology department in using specialist Beam Steering technology which directs the sound and can adapt it to suit any given acoustic and sound-related situation. This involves altering the acoustic radiant characteristics of the front speakers and facilitates a very homogeneous distribution of sound carefully matched to the type of event: Powerful for cinema operation, and less so but still with transparent sound for music, and clearly audible for voice-based events.
This level of individuality could only be assured with the assistance of planned mobile systems with ingenious and highly efficient control technology, adapted to suit the space and the type of event. This automated the most complex of setting operations, making operation as simple as possible.
The OBERMEYER Group is one of the largest independent planning companies in Germany and has an expert track record spanning more than 60 years for overall planning and qualified sectoral planning.
With more than 1400 employees worldwide, OBERMEYER delivers planning services into the sectors of building, infrastructure and technical equipment. In partnership with scientific research institutes, virtually every field of expertise in engineering and construction planning is covered.
Inspired by the innovative spirit of its founder, Leonhard Obermeyer, the company creates intelligent, future-facing solutions using the very latest digital tools and responsibly flexible methods.
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Copyright: Amerikahaus / Herbert Stolz
Copyright: Amerikahaus / Herbert Stolz