New York, NY To make sure that CEO of Citigroup Mike Corbat would be heard loud and clear during any speech given from the firm’s Town Hall, Cerami’s Acoustic Reality experts, working with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, were able to simulate the experience and design the acoustics for intelligibility, long before the firm’s Manhattan headquarters were finished last year.
Cerami & Associates created Cerami Acoustic Reality in order to make the once-elusive acoustics of a physical space a more tangible decision point for built environments. For decades, the acoustic industry relied on numbers–decible levels, noise criterion ratings, etc.–that were difficult to translate to clients in terms of what a space would actually sound like.
“The advent of virtual reality has opened the door for Cerami to turn acoustic design away from reports and mark ups and towards practical experience,” said CEO of Cerami Associates, Victoria Cerami. “Cerami Acoustic Reality has shifted the paradigm for acoustic decision making.”
In real time, clients can now listen to a space from any angle, swapping surface finishes on the fly and be able to understand how each option will truly impact the experience of the end user. Using client’s architectural lens, Cerami creates a realistic and interactive sound-filled model.
“We bring technology and acoustics together to solve design challenges so clients can make sound decisions at critical points in the building process,” said Nicodemo Scarfo, VR developer at Cerami.
A prime example of how these critical decisions can be enhanced by this technology is seen in the work that went into the Marie-Josee and Henry Kravis Studio, the world’s first dedicated space for performance, process and time-based art, located at the heart of the new MoMA. Challenged with how to design the studio to be impervious to Manhattan’s 53rd St. and ensure its adaptability for a variety of uses, the MoMA brought this design assignment into Cerami’s Immersive Studio where the Acoustic Reality practice lives. Through numerous iterations of virtual acoustic simulations with specific design tweaks along the way, Cerami along with design partner Diller Scofidio + Renfro and the MoMA creative team were able to experience sample exhibitions before the studio was built. By immersing themselves in the virtual performance space, clients were able to make informed decisions such as choosing a thicker curtain wall or adding tilted banners so that guests could experience the gallery as the blank canvas it was intended to be.
“This acoustic innovation is especially relevant amidst this pandemic when clients have not been able to get into buildings,” said Virginia Demske, associate at Cerami, who spends most of her time in the virtual world of acoustics. “Which is why we’re taking our Immersive Studio on the road and sending it virtually, so that million-dollar decisions can be made confidently from the couch.”