Case Study: Starr Cinema, Tate Modern

Location: London

Area: 245sqm

Project year: 2016

Contractor: West-One Interiors

The 15 year old, 250 seat Starr Auditorium in the iconic Tate Modern was revitalised as a high spec, multi-function venue to offer facilities unique to the UK. The brief given was for a state-of-the-art technical solution that integrated cinema, live performance and presentation into a single facility.

The performance stage needed a full multi channel live sound capability, while the presentation facilities should provide both the capacity for high-profile corporate hire use through to internal AV educational presentations.

Before the technology could be addressed the acoustics had to receive a major refurbishment. The solution involved stripping back the auditorium to the structural walls to construct a more acoustically satisfying room.

Dolby Atmos was installed. Columns created sound shadows so we paired speakers to share the same audio channel so there is no sound shadowing. Base traps were put in the wall and ceiling and the speakers were concealed so that they are invisible, a move that met the approval of Tate’s project team while fulfilling the concept of transparency of the sound source.

“Thank you for such a great effort in improving the setting of the Starr Cinema. It is not obvious that someone who has been experimenting with sound for about 50 years as Laurie Anderson, is instantly convinced and happy re: the sound conditions for such a layered film. The Q&A (well, more a monologue) went perfectly sound wise, thank you for working hard on that. We were all overwhelmed last Friday by your amazing commitment”.

Andrea Lissoni, Senior Curator, International, Art & Film