What will the quality of the new venue be like?
We do have a plan around the quality. The project scope calls for a quality of finishes appropriate for a facility of "Regional Significance" - meaning somewhere between a performance venue found on a college campus or high school and a venue of national/international significance like the National Arts Centre in Ottawa or the Four Seasons Centre in Toronto.
The quality of the building will be a key aspect of the definition and character of the facility. Several criteria can be used as benchmarks of the quality:
Noise criteria (NC) is a measure of the ambient noise level within the performing spaces, and is affected by issues such as the amount of sound emitted by mechanical ducts and electrical equipment within the hall, as well as the level of acoustic separation between the performance space and adjacent spaces.
Within the regional category a target NC level of 20-25 is typically identified, and would be achieved by attenuating mechanical ducts with insulation to reduce noise levels, and carefully selecting electrical equipment, (light fixture etc.) that have a low level of sound.
The structural isolation of the performance space from adjacent spaces is another of the quality criteria for the performance space, and utilizing a double wall construction is a typical approach for buildings aiming for a regional quality level. Double-wall construction utilizes a discontinuous structure to ensure that both air-borne and structure-borne sound from outside of the performance space does not enter the room.
The durability of building finishes is another key factor in determining the relative quality of the facility. Buildings of regional quality typically target + 50 years of life for the building materials, finishes, systems and equipment. An example of the building materials is the cladding of the building exterior where a masonry (brick) rain-screen assembly is reconstructed to achieve the target building life; a lower standard of quality would be achieved with prefinished metal cladding (+25 years), and a higher quality and longer life (100+ years) would be achieved with stone.
The functionality of the performance spaces provides another measure of the quality of the facility. The main hall of the Playhouse is recommended to be a multi-use performance space that accommodates a broad range of performance types (drama, dance, classical music, popular music etc.) where all of the art-frames are presented at a high level of quality. Music will be accommodated as both a natural acoustic and in amplified form through the deployment of acoustic banners that will adjust the level of acoustic absorptions in the wall to suit the music presentation.
The community presence of the facility, and the relative impact of the architectural character in the community is another factor in the quality criteria. As a building of regional significance it is recommended that the Playhouse present a strong “visual impact” in the Fredericton landscape, and that the design of the facility play a leadership role amongst the strong existing stock of public buildings in the community.