New World Center Soundscape
When most people think of a night at the symphony, they may not think of seven-story-tall musicians, blankets, and picnic baskets, but that is just what you will find at the home of the New World Symphony (NWS) in Miami Beach, Florida. Just blocks away from the ocean waves lies the New World Center Soundscape Park, a 2.5 acre park used for cultural and special events. Designed by West 8, it brings a symphonic experience to the outdoors by projecting images onto a 7,000 square foot projection wall while dozens of surround sound speakers simulcast the audio of the performance from inside the hall. The project was designed to expand the audience of classical music and build a sense of community around the center.
“The New World Symphony, America’s only full-time orchestral academy, prepares gifted graduates of prestigious music programs for successful careers in orchestras and ensembles. NWS has launched the careers of more than 700 young musicians.” With this open air venue, free to the public, their hope is to introduce classical music to those who otherwise may never have that experience. Within the park, patrons will find “ballet bars” spanning the length of the park.
These bars are filled with speaker systems intended to give listeners the same sound experience as if they were in the concert hall. Microphones are placed strategically around the hall to pick up each unique sound from the subtle to most pronounced. Nine high definition cameras record the performance. It is edited live and ran through fiber optic cables to four large projectors at the rear of the park. The projectors work in quadrants to produce seamless, huge images on the exterior wall of the symphony hall. So close to the ocean, this hostile, tropical environment wreaks havoc on steel structures.
Careful consideration had to be given to how these structures would be protected from corrosion, and in turn protect the sensitive cabling and speaker system held inside. A duplex coating system or hot-dip galvanizing and paint was chosen. Hot-dip galvanizing would provide the corrosion resistance required, and a top-coat painted finish would provide the aesthetically pleasing look needed to incorporate the large structures into the park. The pipe structures were designed containing several layers of internal plates to hold the speakers; essentially creating multiple baffles inside the pipe. The galvanizer worked with the fabricator on determining where holes would be needed to facilitate proper draining of the zinc and venting of the entrapped air.
Many of the pieces were fabricated in lengths too long for a single dip in the galvanizing kettle. Progressive dipping the structures added to the complexity of hole placement and the quantity of holes needed. Since the structures were also going to be painted, the material was not quenched, in order to help with preparation for painting. Working in tandem, the hot-dip galvanizing will protect the beautiful painted finish, and the paint will protect the underlying, corrosion resistant zinc. This duplex coating system should provide decades of maintenance-free protection to these structures so integral in the mission of the New World Symphony. As these “ballet bars” perform a role in the cultural progression of this community and worldwide, decades from now, parents who sit in the park with their children will recall the inspiring awe they felt when they heard their first symphony from these same “bars”.
The progressive dipping and internal plates required adjustments in the design to allow proper venting and draining without loss of structural integrity. The thousands of visitors each year who watch and listen to the performances in this park will see the performance of of hot-dip galvanizing in this harsh environment.