HANGZHOU, CHINA: Leading global architectural / acoustical design firm WSDG Walters-Storyk Design Group, reports the completion of a world-class Music Production & Education Complex for the Zhejiang Conservatory of Music (ZJCM) in Hangzhou, East China. Ensconced in a recently completed, ultra-modern 8000 sq. ft. two-story building, the new facility features a 3200 sq. ft. Live Room with a 26 ft. high ceiling. One of the world’s largest recording studios dedicated to educational projects, it can host sessions of 100+ member orchestras.
Set on the picturesque 100-acre ZJCM campus, the conservatory’s twelve academic departments provide nearly 5000 full-time students with professional educational programs on composition, conducting, vocal and musical instrument performance, recording, and technology. Completed in 2016 the campus includes nine concert halls, 102 rehearsal halls, 842 practice rooms, and six small studios.
Led by WSDG Founding Partner John Storyk, and Partners Sergio Molho, Renato Cipriano and Silvia Molho the firm’s 50+ member, creative and technical design team contributed to the collaboration. “A project of this scale requires extremely well coordinated design and technical input,” Cipriano reports. “Our Basel, Switzerland and Berlin, Germany offices developed sophisticated 3D room modeling and electro acoustical surface predictions which were invaluable in establishing an extraordinary acoustic environment for the large live studio.
Equal attention was devoted to the 650 sq. ft. Control Room, which features a panoramic floor-to-ceiling window view into the live room. Our Latin office provided extremely accurate renderings, our US and Brazil team performed brilliantly on overall design and the creation of innovative acoustic solutions. And, our Miami- based Partner/Art Director Silvia Molho made a major aesthetic contribution with her interior design talents.” Cipriano said.
“We also developed a noteworthy and cost-effective variable acoustic treatment for the live recording studio,” he adds. “Each of the expansive live room’s four walls was fitted with a 26 foot-long floor-to-ceiling, absorbent curtain hung from heavy-duty, silent, motorized tracks. Deploying these curtains can provide as much as a 50% modification of the room’s average reverberation time,” Cipriano reports.
WSDG Co-Principal Sergio Molho credits the firm’s Guangzhou, China-based representative, Víctor Cañellas as “an invaluable on-site liaison throughout this project. Victor’s exhaustive knowledge of acoustics, studio design, full Room-Within-Room isolation construction issues and, China’s educational criteria were instrumental in keeping this formidable project on track. Systems Integration experts and technology suppliers Digital Media Technology Co. Ltd. (DMT) excelled in the challenging task of assuring flawless connectivity throughout the complex.” Molho adds. “ZJCM is a textbook example of effective collaboration in planning, programming and coordinating an extremely complex project. By facilitating a comprehensive on-going dialogue, maintaining a precisely documented time-line and making every effort to keep within budgetary limitations we supported ZJCM’s mission of creating a world-class educational facility.”
“The ZJCM team were ideal clients,” reports WSDG Interior Design partner, Silvia Molho. “They were very accepting of our recommendations, and made decisions in an extremely timely manner. Thanks to their research into our company history they were fully aware of our educational facility design credentials, and they had great faith in our ability.”
“The scale of the live room provided us with an extraordinary canvas for acoustical and aesthetic creativity,” Cipriano adds. “We designed a number of elements that we believe will inspire students, musicians and educators alike. One of our proudest accomplishments was the huge iconic oval ceiling cloud/lighting element. Floating over the live room from a height of 26’, it provides a strikingly effective visual element as well as mood lighting and acoustic treatments. “By incorporating warm, natural wooden acoustic elements and contrasting darker earth colors with lighter shades we established a deeply creative and aesthetically pleasing ambiance throughout the complex,” Molho concludes.
“We were committed to providing ZJCM with an outstanding technology package,” says DTM Technical Director, Johnathan Wang. “For the audio system, we recommended the top-level SSL Duality console and PMC QB1-A flagship monitor speakers as an unparalleled sound system. Considering ZJCM’s ‘World Class’ goals for their new studio exquisite décor details and superb acoustics and isolation design were critical. WSDG was our immediate choice. My boss Mr. Clement Choi, was in full agreement. With his enthusiastic support our collaboration began. ZJCM Director, Mr. Huang Xiaodong, Mr. Guo Ming, head of the ZJCM decoration construction team and WSDG’s China representative, Mr. Victor Cañellas, worked closely with us to efficiently resolve all construction issues. We are all extremely proud that our collaboration produced this beautiful pro audio education complex for the Zheijang Conservatory of Music,” Mr. Wang said.
Commenting on WSDG’s contribution to the complex, ZJCM Deputy Dean Music Engineering Department, Mr. Huang Xiaodong, remarked, “Because this project represents a crucial addition to our campus, we were committed to engaging the most qualified architectural and acoustical design firm. WSDG’s global reputation earned our full confidence. When the studios were completed we invited a number of choirs, musicians, sound engineers, composers and senior members of the Singapore National Orchestra to tour our new facility. Their evaluation of the studio’s acoustic environment was ‘World-Class’. We also invited representatives of Zhejiang Province’s Hengdian World, Asia’s largest film studio They were all greatly pleased with the sound quality, and their directors have already begun to contact us regarding the possibility of recording here.
“Our collaboration with WSDG has been extremely satisfying. Their design work was impeccable, their communication with our staff and contractors was exemplary and the acoustic and aesthetic quality of the completed studio complex has met our highest standards. I had never seen anything like their bold design of the live room’s large oval ceiling cloud/lighting element. Inspired by our traditional decorative Chinese knots, WSDG assured us it would be as effective acoustically as it is aesthetically. And, It functions perfectly as an acoustic diffusor. WSDG’s collaboration with our faculty and DMT's Johnathan Wang, was both efficient and pleasant. They had an exceptional understanding of our goals, and we are confident that their work will contribute to superb educations for our students for many years to come,” Mr. Xiaodong concludes.
WSDG, LLC: For nearly 50 years WSDG has been designing media production facilities worldwide, over 3500, and counting. Projects range from Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Lady Studio and Jazz At Lincoln Center in New York, to broadcast facilities for The Food Network, CBS and WNET, over twenty teaching studios for The Art Institutes, and corporate clients such as Sony, IBM and Novartis. Recent credits include Jungle City in New York, The Church Studio, in London, private studios for Green Day, Jay-Z, Bruce Springsteen, Alicia Keys and Academy Award-nominated film composer Carter Burwell. WSDG has collaborated with such noted architects as Frank Gehry, Philippe Stark, Rafael Viñoly, Santiago Calatrava, Grimshaw, and Norman Foster. An eleven-time winner of the prestigious pro audio NAMM TEC Award for outstanding achievement in Acoustics/Facility Design, WSDG maintains U.S. offices in New York, Washington, DC, San Francisco and Miami and global offices in Barcelona, Basel, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Belo Horizonte, Buenos Aires, Guangzhou, Mexico City and Mumbai.