28 April 2009

"All buildings are now theaters" -- Steve Thorburn

"It has been coined AIR (Acoustically Integrated aRchitecture) and we have been practicing it for much longer than we've had a name for it," says Steven J. Thorburn, PE. His company, Thorburn Associates Inc., specializes in building technologies and acoustical engineering, and counts numerous architectural firms among its 800-plus clients.

Says Thorburn, "Green building ideals and LEED, the role of technology in daily life, the placement of mechanical/technical components and the needs of human gathering spaces all require specialized technical solutions in the conceptual stage - they all need AIR."

"What we're now seeing is that the integration of acoustics, engineering and architecture that is standard practice in a performing arts center is also a necessity in most every new project, because of the amount of audiovisual equipment and other technology involved. As a result, they all require a level of integrated design in the early stages comparable to what is common practice in theater development. In a very real sense, all buildings are now theaters."

To illustrate this premise, Thorburn cites two of his company's projects: the San Francisco Federal Building, and the De Anza College Performing Arts Center. Full story here.