We aim to (acoustically) please

YDYO Lecture Theatre [THOR Architects]
YDYO Lecture Theatre [THOR Architects]

We can all agree that it is very symbolic to create a lecture theatre in a foreign language school with a design that has evolved through performance

The YDYO lecture theatre of the Izmir University of Economics is designed to optimise the sound reverberation. Its insides are clad in folded panelling generated through an iterative computational process that has one sole job: optimisation towards the highest sound performance possible within a set of parameters.

There is no doubt that this lecture theatre is the avant-garde architectural highlight of the School of Foreign Languages. The immersive space sits between the ground floor and basement, and has standard tiered seating typical of lecture theatres. Natural light filters through to the theatre gently, thanks to a small window onto the courtyard, giving non-participants a chance to listen in on the talks. In most ways, to its inhabitant, this enclosure may feel (and act) as if one is inside the chamber of a heart and is listening from within. The sound moves around the space within a minimal reverb time, where voices travel distinctly and naturally, without the need for audio equipment.

Thor Architects’ mission was to create a space with the acoustics at the heart of it; their metaphorical heart chamber is really (and almost ironically) the result of a performative exercise in the name of parametric architecture. Contrary to formalistic architecture, where the principle is rooted in cultural rules, trends and ideas, parametric architecture is a computational technique designed to assess an infinite combination of inputs and continually modifying and optimising until the best acoustically designed space is achieved.

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