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Professor Ramani Ramakrishnan, Designs M.S. Subbulakshmi Auditorium in Chennai, India

November 05, 2018
M.S. Subbulakshmi Auditorium in Chennai, India

Credit: Staff Photographer, Asian College of Journalism, Chennai, India.

DAS Professor Ramani Ramakrishnan collaborated with a local architectural team, Tara Murali and Kalpana Balaji, in Chennai, India to design the M.S. Subbulakshmi Auditorium with no echo or delayed reflection of sound.

Many people flock to Chennai to hear a range of artists and musicians play their art. By creating an auditorium without amplification, it unites the audience and the performer together to admirably listen to one another.

Professor Ramani

While on sabbatical in 2014, Professor Ramani was asked by Sashi Kumar Menon, Chairperson of Media Development Foundation, the not for profit Trust which runs the Asian College of Journalism, to design an auditorium that doesn’t need amplification with microphones or speakers. The two- and half-year design process went through 20 different alterations before the Professor could settle on one. Collaboration with the architectural team in Chennai was made possible through the power of Skype meetings and debating over solutions.

Professor Ramani Ramakrishnan speaking on stage.

 Design

A variety of acoustic metrics were used during the design process, including reverberation time, clarity and sound level distribution across the audience seating area.

Professor Ramani explains the auditorium design:

To achieve acceptable acoustics, the whole auditorium envelops are designed to be sound reflective. In addition, a band shell (3-sided) was installed behind the artists’ platform so that the artists can hear each other as well as project sound to the back of the auditorium. Additional reflections were achieved by the convex ceiling panels. The patterned concrete panels on the two side walls and on the back wall provide additional diffusion of sound.

As Chennai is a hub for art and music, Professor Ramani's design of the M.S. Subbulakshmi Auditorium has added another significant layer to the artistically diverse city.

Read more about his design in The Hindu, external link.