Studio and design consultancy White Mark Ltd has won a major international concept design competition to reconstruct and modernise the recording studios and control rooms at the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Poland.
Since 1963, this prestigious university has been headquartered in a five storey building in Warsaw. Originally designed to take into account the requirements of the Sound Engineering department, the building has studios in the basement as well as a concert hall and teaching facilities on the other floors. However, 50 years after its completion, the entire complex now needs significantly updating to bring its functionality in line with current technical and educational requirements.
To ensure that the best team was chosen for the project, the Fryderyk Chopin University held an international competition and encouraged entries from acoustic and architectural companies from around the world. The brief was complex as there were a large number of rooms to take into consideration including two recording studios, an orchestral studio, various editing suites, lecture theatres and a master control room linking all of these facilities together. There was also a requirement to design an Atmos mixing studio, the first of its kind in Poland.
Alan Cundell, Director of White Mark, says: “We approached the competition brief in the same way that we would approach any design brief – with a view to giving the client the best facility possible within the constraints of the budget and the available space. The main issues we faced were optimally configuring the large number of rooms that needed to be included in our submission and ensuring that our technical proposals were both appropriate to the University’s educational requirements and reflected current industry practice. The time frame was very short and we had to pull out all the stops to meet the deadline.”
White Mark’s main competition came from a design consortium consisting of team members from Canada, Poland and Germany. To ensure that the competition was entirely fair, all designs had to be submitted anonymously, identified only by reference numbers, so that no names were visible to the judges.
“The requirement for confidentiality was very stringent,” Alan Cundell adds. “We even had to make sure that everything we sent by FedEx only had reference numbers and no company name, just in case one of the judges saw it.”
Judging was carried out on a percentage basis, with marks allocated in three sections – compliance with guidelines, innovation and feasibility. White Mark’s overall rating was 92% –11% higher than the competition.
The Fryderyk Chopin University is now discussing the on-going project with White Mark as it hopes to start the design and building of its new Sound Engineering department at the beginning of next year.
“Winning the competition was a great achievement and one we are very proud of, but the bigger challenge will come when we start designing for construction,” Alan Cundell adds. “That’s when the hard work really starts!”
About White Mark:
Established in 1997 by David Bell, John Dunnill, Derek Buckingham and Alan Cundell, White Mark Ltd specialises in production facilities for music recording and the film and television industries. Over the last fifteen years it has designed and supervised the construction of over 500 production suites worldwide. The company’s impressive client list encompasses some of the world’s most famous music recording facilities including Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios in the UK, Germano Studios in New York, Hit Factory/Criteria Recording Studios in Miami, Strongroom in London and private studios for producers and musicians such as William Orbit and Damon Albarn. In the area of audio post production, White Mark has completed over 140 audio studios and many broadcast and video editing facilities for more than 60 companies in Soho alone. The list of clients includes Grand Central, Hackenbacker, Envy, De Lane Lea, Scramble, Lipsync, Molinare, DeLuxe, 750mph, NBC/Universal, Wave, Unit and Boom. Advertising agency clients include worldwide facilities for Hogarth International and AMV/BBDO on four continents.