(l-r) WSDG Partner/European GM Dirk Noy, company principal John Storyk and project engineer Michael Chollet during restoration.
Solothurn, Switzerland (November 11, 2013)—In the baroque town of Solothurn, Switzerland, the St. Ursen Cathedral has long been a destination for worship and tourism. In 2011, the cathedral sustained damages after a fire in the congregation hall, causing a massive restoration project that involved the assistance of the Walters-Storyk Design Group.

The restoration operation commenced under the direction of Pius Flury and Iwan Affolter of Flury und Rudolf Architekten AG (Switzerland), and involved every aspect of the building, from the art to lighting, heating, electrical, and the electro-acoustics infrastructure.

In a fortunate coincidence, WSDG’s European headquarters are located in Basel, a short drive from Solothurn. Company partner/European GM, Dirk Noy was very familiar with the cathedral, and was awarded the electro-acoustical portion of the project.

WSDG began conducting acoustical measurements, to obtain a “status quo” documentation and to serve as a base for the predictive simulation software findings. Although RT60 Reverberation Times exceeded six seconds at 500Hz—and a reduction would have been helpful to achieve improved speech intelligibility, changing the materialization of the building was unacceptable. Further complicating the project, new measurements taken following the initial restoration revealed that the RT60 Reverberation Times were even higher after the accumulated dirt and gray burn residue were cleaned.

To resolve this challenge, WSDG specified various Stoll Audio loudspeakers, along with a total of eight CVS Clearvoice Evolutone steerable array loudspeakers. These recommendations were based on the speakers' long-range throw, steering algorithms and speech intelligibility, all of which were vital to reach the target values. The loudspeakers are driven by a networked BSS Soundweb DSP backbone, and controlled by a Crestron touchpanel.

“In past years, my family and I have attended services at the St. Ursen Cathedral. We were devastated when we learned of the fire,” Dirk Noy concludes. “It was a great privilege to participate in the renovation of this marvelous house of worship. And we were deeply humbled by complements from the Solothurn’s Roman Catholic Parish when they advised us that the sound of the music and the services performed in the renovated Cathedral were even better than they had been before the tragedy.”

Walters-Storyk Design Group