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Photo Credit:
Michael Lutch

  Boston Symphony Orchestra

Replacement of Symphony Hall Performance Floor
Boston, MA


Built in 1900, Symphony Hall is a beloved national landmark that is believed to be one of only three perfect concert halls in the world. Its maple performance floor has held a mystical reputation among musicians over the last century because of its fundamental contribution to the acoustical signature of the hall. When this floor, which had not been replaced since its original construction 105 years prior, was judged to be in need of repair, the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) turned to its multi-decade construction partner, Walsh Brothers, to shepherd the process. Enlisting highly specialized wood scientists and acousticians, the project began with the meticulous disassembly of the existing structure to ensure that the replacement floor would be installed in the same exacting detail. Exhaustive research was conducted on a host of issues including special protocols, materials and historical construction techniques from 100 years ago. Details of the project approach required an in-depth understanding of wood characteristics such as humidification tendencies, vibration induction dimensions, and the dynamic stiffness of the floor system (also known as resonance). A major challenge of the project was its required schedule of a 10 week window when the hall would be "dark". Incorporated into this tight schedule was a four week wood acclimation period during which the lumber would expand and contract. Walsh Brothers is proud to have managed the extreme specialties and sensitivities of this once-in-a-life-time project to the full satisfaction of the BSO and its followers


"Walsh Brothers' leadership in guiding the construction team through the project was instrumental in its successful results. Symphony Hall's great acoustics were preserved. The musicians of the BSO and music lovers throughout the world applaud your fine work."
Ray F. Wellbaum
Orchestra Manager
Boston Symphony Orchestra
AWARDS:
2007 Associated General Contractors Build New England Honor Award
ARCHITECTS:
Ann Beha Architects