Innovations That Matter

Dancers at rehearse in Studio J, which uses crinkle-concrete walls. | Photo source © Richard Barnes

Crinkled concrete creates great acoustics and aesthetics

Architecture & Design

NYC architects use new shape and application of concrete in performing arts centre expansion

Spotted: Urban design specialists Stephen Holl Architects have conjured a new way to use concrete. 

Called crinkle concrete, the novel approach builds visually intriguing walls that also provide high-quality acoustics. It was designed specifically for the recent expansion of the Washington DC John F. Kennedy Center of Performing Arts.

Moulded on large, crumpled sheets of aluminium foil, the crinkled concrete is used to cover walls in several of the centre’s performance spaces. The randomness of the texture breaks up the flutter echoes that result from sound bouncing off two parallel flat surfaces. It also provides the required three inches of depth needed to further enhance sound. 



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