La Jolla’s Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center is featured in an upcoming book chronicling acoustical masterpieces worldwide.
“Concert Halls by Nagata Acoustics: Thirty Years of Acoustical Design for Music Venues and Vineyard-Style Auditoria” is set to be published early next year.
Co-author Daniel Beckmann is an acoustician who served with international acoustical consulting firm Nagata Acoustics for more than 13 years and was responsible for the design and engineering of eight of the 32 concert halls in the book, including The Conrad. Other co-authors are Yasuhisa Toyota, Motoo Komoda, Marc Quiquerez and Erik Bergal.
The Conrad is a 49,000-square-foot performing arts center that opened in 2019 and is the home of the La Jolla Music Society. It features the 500-seat Baker-Baum Concert Hall, a 140-seat flexible performance space known as The JAI, rehearsal rooms and a large open courtyard.
Toyota, president of Nagata Acoustics America in Los Angeles, is the head acoustician.
“The Conrad stands out because of the high-quality expectations which were fulfilled in a more limited site,” Beckmann said. “It was great to insert this performance space into and fully round out the way The Village provides amenities for everyone. … A lot of times, projects like this have more space at their disposal. We were clever, with the architects, to make the best use of the site.
“One of the most interesting aspects in the hall, especially in the Baker-Baum Concert Hall, is [that] the interior boundary of the hall is not the acoustical boundary. We wanted to make the acoustic as big as we could and take advantage of the horizontal space.”
The book, intended for “anyone interested in music, concerts and concert halls … architecture or design,” is arranged chronologically starting with a hall in Tokyo that opened in 1986. The Conrad is the newest.
The chapters contain more than 230 photos and plans detailing the design and building processes, along with a discussion of acoustical design from the designer’s perspective.
“We want people to learn from the book that there are new and creative ideas for the creation of these spaces where creativity is so important,” Beckmann said. “What happens in these spaces is a creative endeavor. The spaces should support that and be creative, draw people in and give life to cities.”
Communicating the importance of sound innovation in the soundless medium of a book didn’t pose the challenge one might think, Beckmann said.
“In this type of project, the acoustical team gets a lot of attention because it is space for sound and listening. But there are many others on the design team … and engineers we work with,” Beckmann said. “Communication is as much a part of our job as the design. Communication is a natural part of what we do and allows us to take them along with our vision. So writing a book extends naturally from the communicating and collaborating on a team.”
Once it is released — Beckmann is hoping for January — “Concert Halls by Nagata Acoustics” will be available online and wherever books are sold. It is priced for preorder at $149.99. ◆