Kleinhans Music Hall: A study in modern sound by Denise Prince

The thesis examines the acoustics of Eliel Saarinen’s masterwork, Kleinhans Music Hall, in Buffalo, New York. The hall, which opened in 1940, was planned in conjunction with acoustical engineers, who served as consultants to the architect. At the time of Kleinhans’ construction, the field of room acoustics was significantly advanced over its early modern beginnings. A discussion of the history of modern acoustics will be included as well as an explanation of the culture of “modern sound,” which was prevalent at the time Kleinhans Music Hall was planned and constructed. By closely examining the historical records of the acoustical planners and Kleinhans management, the thesis will determine to what extent the acoustical planning of the hall was affected by a desire to emulate this sound, and will explain what the acoustical planners hoped to achieve. In addition, several
scientific studies of the acoustical results of Kleinhans Music Hall will be evaluated, and recommendations for improving the acoustics of the hall will be discussed. Read the full thesis.