Live from Lavine Broadcast Center

Cambridge Seven Associates designed WBUR CitySpace as an addition to the public radio station’s long-held Lavine Broadcast Center at their prominent location in downtown Boston. With the expanded space came expanded programming opportunities, a vision for truly public radio as a community forum. The highly modifiable multimedia venue is designed to host a range of cultural events from readings, interviews, debates, panels, performances, live theater, galas, and even fitness classes, all while maintaining the technical capabilities of live TV and radio broadcast.

Ombrae Studios was engaged in a collaborative design development process, and the feature wall was conceived as a central focal point of the room, visually emanating energetic soundwaves while functionally enhancing the sound isolation properties needed for the live recording space.

Client: Boston University
Architect: Cambridge Seven Associates
Size: 1,500 sqft (140sqm)
Completion Date: 2019

Manufacturing Partner:
Keith Panel Systems

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DESIGN OPPORTUNITY

Form as Function

The Ombrae feature wall in the soundproof theatre is clearly visible through the large windowed façade from the sidewalk, with the stage orientation facing the streetscape. Sound waves are graphically interpreted as undulating forms along the curvilinear walls, all emanating from the central stage. The energetic Ombrae design expands uninterrupted across several door frames, creating an impactful viewing experience, even from outside: an invitation to join and listen to an event to those walking by on Commonwealth Avenue. 

Coupled with the sound isolating ceiling, floating slab flooring, and double glazing curtain wall, the Ombrae panels backed with felt, act to acoustically deaden sound reflections in the performance space for the benefit of live radio and TV recordings.

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Mockup & Lighting Test

From the beginning of this project, dedicated feature lighting was a key consideration given the performance space's need for a variety of lighting settings. Along with Keith Panel Systems, we built a mockup to test the specified RGBW strip LED lighting, and validate the optimized image design.

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