Designing the Optimal Concert Venue

When designing the optimal concert venue there are many facets that should be explored prior to the design process. Sound resolution, comfort of audience members, visual attractiveness, and accessibility are just a few to be considered.


The first characteristic the venue needs is it has to have an appealing exterior structure and be large enough to been seen from a distance. The location is of most importance. Placement of the structure where it can be easily seen and accessed from a nearby interstate will assist in drawing people to the building. The more people that see it, the higher the chance they will choose this venue to see a concert. The cylindrical shape of the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida is the ideal framework of an optimal concert venue. It allows for large numbers of people to gather into the venue and see the concert. With the upward, stadium seating arrangement, it allows for people to be able to see the performance from any seat. Additionally, Florida would be an ideal state for the venue to be built.  The weather is generally warm which attracts people of all ages. It also allows for an assortment of plants and trees to be placed to make the appearance of the arena top of the line.  The stable climate would allow this venue to remain pleasant and active throughout all seasons.

This tweet from Sarah Chang shows the problem with outside venues along with the issues of placing a venue in a climate that changes drastically throughout the seasons.

 Tweet from sarah chang (from email)

The next concept to think about is the construction of the interior of the building. The cylindrical shape, as mentioned before, will provide the optimal frame. The seating will be sectioned in three levels one above the other. Having three levels will allow each person in attendance to be seated comfortably while remaining connected with the stage. With the slant in the different levels, people who are forced to sit in the back row will still feel relatively close to the performance. The levels will be three-quarter circles, and the stage will be placed in the front quarter of the circle to allow the best visuals. This feature is used, rather than the traditional full-circle structure around the stage, to keep the performance in front of every audience member; Rather than having the artist’s or group’s back to sections of the audience. The downfall of the full-circle feature is it makes part of the audience feel separated from the performance while the three-quarter arrangement incorporates everyone. When building the optimal concert venue it is important to make everyone feel as if they are a part of the performance being played in front of them. To ensure the people placed the farthest away from the performance can still see the show, four screens will be hung from the ceiling showing the performance on the screen. The screens will be strategically placed to allow all of the people sitting in the second and third levels to have the option to watch the performance on the screen, if they cannot see the actual performance clearly. The reality of engineering the optimal concert venue is with a large number of people being admitted into the venue, some will not be able to get the luxury of having an outstanding seat. This is how the ideal vision of the design cannot be met, regardless of how well the venue is designed. It is just not physically possible.

The way sound travels is an important concept to think about when designing the optimal concert venue. First, it is necessary to note sound is the disturbance of air molecules which causes the molecules to vibrate. Along these lines, one should understand the velocity formula of sound, which is V= 331.4 + 0.6Tc, for two major reasons. The first reason is to grasp that sound moves at a fast rate of speed and its velocity can be calculated. Secondly, to understand the factors which affect the way sound travels. This formula shows temperature affects the speed of sound. This is important because it shows a regulated heating and cooling system is a necessity to allow sound to travel at its best while still keeping the people watching the concert comfortable. Therefore, maintaining a controlled climate is of utmost importance.

The two videos talk furthermore about sound and its properties.

After understanding sound and how it travels, constructing ideas for the stage is the next step. As stated previously, the stage will be placed in the front quarter of the complex facing the three-quarters of circular seating. The design and placement of the stage is critical because it is important everyone can see and hear the performance effectively. Therefore, the shape of the stage needs to be slightly curved in the front to allow sound waves to bounce off of it in all directions. The stage must also be made of materials which are sturdy and can withstand abuse. There are many performances that require props to be moved on and off of the stage in fast intervals of time. Knowing this, it is important to account for some things accidentally slipping and potentially making marks on the stage. Also, the materials need to be durable to outlast the wear and tear over the many performances that will be conducted on the stage.

                Finally, setting up the sound system will have to be strategically placed throughout the venue. When talking about ANZ stadium, in Sydney, Australia, Steve Drury says, “The design process was complicated due to the requirement to rotate the main axis of each of the components on the majority of clusters to achieve a radial distribution pattern.” Even though ANZ stadium is an outside arena the process still has the same complexity. Speakers must be placed in order to reach everyone throughout the venue. The greatest task is finding the least number of speakers which can be placed so everyone can hear the performance. This task requires many math calculations along with trial and error to properly set up the sound system.

In order to understand how the different frequencies sound here are two audio clips containing a 8 kHz frequency and a 15 kHz frequency.

8 kHz:

15 kHz:

Designing and engineering the perfect arena is complex. Many aspects from safety to aesthetics should be taken into consideration.

Works Cited

“American Airlines Arena.” Google Images. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

“Bill Nye – Sound Travels in” YouTube. YouTube, 25 Nov. 2012. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

Blair, Christopher. “Building Concert Halls, Part 1: What Makes a Great Concert Hall?” Web log post. Adaptistration. N.p., 15 Dec. 2010. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

Chang, Sarah “Just realized the season has officially started! that means we’re back in beautiful concert halls, not outdoor venues, fighting heat+mosquitoes” 31 Aug. 2013, 11:07 Tweet.

Drury, Steve. “Concert Quality Sound for ANZ Stadium.” Accoustics Australia 41.2 (2013): 176. EBSCOhost. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

Hass, Jeffery. “How Fast Does Sound Travel?” An Acoustics Primer. N.p.: n.p., 2004. N. pag. How Fast Does Sound Travel? Indiana University. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

“The Coolest Things Sound Waves Do.” YouTube. YouTube, 20 July 2013. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

“The Physical Principles of Sound.” Jisc Digital Media. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

“8 KHz Sine Wave Sound Frequency Tone.” YouTube. YouTube, 18 Nov. 2012. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.

“15 KHz Sound.” YouTube. YouTube, 25 Sept. 2012. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.


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