St Cecilia's Hall is the oldest purpose-built concert hall in Scotland. It was built in around 1760 and it is listed as a Heritage Category A building.
The redevelopment project, completed in March 2017, was designed to improve the hall’s concert facilities and transform it into a teaching centre and a museum for exhibiting the university’s precious collection of historic musical instruments. The project entrusted to Page Park Architects, arose from the University of Edinburgh’s desire to enhance the concert hall’s functionality, while also emphasizing its beauty and expanding and renovating its gallery spaces. So, the project involved updating the building’s amenities, including the heating, lighting and air conditioning, refurbishing the Concert Room by improving both the seating layout and acoustics, making repairs to the roof and the building’s external shell, and facilitating access, especially for the disabled. A new L-shaped extension was also designed by Page Park Architects who envisaged it embracing the hall as a young musician embraces a musical instrument.
The bronze motifs on the entrance facade were also inspired by the hall’s collection, and more specifically, the highly decorated soundboard of a 1725 Francis Coston double-manual harpsichord.
The lighting system was designed to meet two needs: to guarantee functionality and safety for visitors and to provide comfortable light for enjoying both concerts and the musical instruments on display. A colour temperature of 3000 K is used for all the environments and nearly all the lighting is created by Laser Blade and Underscore luminaires with different profiles. In the Concert Room, Laser Blade devices create general lighting around the sides of the room that also integrates with the natural light that floods in from the central dome. Pixel Pro luminaires are used to highlight the area where the musicians sit, and Underscore 6 devices have been mounted behind the seats and along the perimeters to emphasize the elliptical shape of the area. In the other areas of the building and especially the double-height areas, like the main entrance, a high contrast version of the Laser Blade has been installed to provide general lighting, and in the gallery, where the collection’s historic harpsichords are displayed, Palco spotlights highlight the instruments, while Underscore devices outline the structures they are displayed on. In general, in the other environments, Underscore15/18 luminaires have been used to emphasize the layout of the spaces and highlight the architectural details designed by Page Park.
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