CASE STUDY: Winter Garden at Brookfield Place

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The Winter Garden at Brookfield Place, originally constructed in 1988 at the site then known as World Financial Center, was severely damaged during the September 11th attacks and substantially rebuilt in 2002. It now houses a palm tree garden as well as an array of luxury retailers and eateries. Here, Arts Brookfield relies on a Martin Audio MLA Compact system to reinforce an eclectic mix of events presented for the community throughout the year in the majestic 10-story glass vaulted atrium.

“All the events that Arts Brookfield presents here at Brookfield Place and across the globe are free,” said vice president and artistic director of Arts Brookfield, Debra Simon. “We offer a mix of cultural offerings such as concerts, site-specific visual art installations, film, theater, and dance.”

The typical system for concerts includes eight flown MLA Compact cabinets per side with two DSX subs groundstacked under the stage and three Merlin controllers. A more compact, streamlined version has also been ground-stacked successfully with four MLA Compact per side on top of the subs when there is flown scenery or other visual elements that necessitated a different approach.

Mark Torchia, technical director for Arts Brookfield points out that “the Winter Garden is challenging because it’s a huge, reverberant glass dome that traps all of the sounds within it including ambient noise from the retail outlets.

“We chose MLA because of the control offered by the system that lets us put the sound where it needs to be and avoid areas where we don’t want it. The Winter Garden’s audience space graduates upward. There’s a monumental marble staircase––a popular place for people to sit and watch the performance––so we had to take care of people on the floor as well as those in a more elevated position.

“MLA allows us to achieve smooth, consistent coverage from top to bottom and side to side with no gaps. We needed to achieve articulation and clarity for speech, and it handles that beautifully. The system also works perfectly for music reproduction, especially considering the wide mix of genres performed here.”

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