New World Center: Michael Nishball Q&A

Taking a cue from the orchestra platform system design they designed at the Walt Disney Concert Hall (another collaboration with Gehry Partners and Nagata Acoustics), Theatre Projects designed a 10-lift system for the New World Center that transforms the room into 14 different performance configurations. The lower bank of audience seating even retracts to make a flat floor space for alternative performances and events.

Director of TP's US office, Michael Nishball, CSI CDT, comments in a short Q&A with Live Design:

Can you describe the systems and their flexibility… what and why?

The concert platform system was designed for a very shallow water table and the potential for hurricane flooding. We therefore elevated all of the lift gear motors, torque shafting, electrical and guide systems above the machine pit slab. Precise positioning and stability was essential from a variable speed screw jack lift system with no slab penetrations required for the 6' plus travel.

And the goal in terms of the technical prowess of the room?

The concert platform lift flooring was carefully engineered to Nagata Acoustics requirements so that the entire platform resonated to support the orchestra. Extensive strong point and chain motor control system to position rigged elements at any location in the room. The entire room is served by cable passes and should be put to the test while PBS—American Masters is in the hall for a production.

What was the biggest or most interesting technical challenge for this space in your realm and the solution?

Any time you get the privilege to work with Gehry Partners, as Theatre Projects has on several projects, the challenge is always understanding the complex architectural language and visualizing how to integrate the stage technology into the hall. Our solution to concert lighting with moving lights and unconventional side lighting positions was a great effort and a great success in this intimate room.

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