Pretty much all of the work that we do at Resonics focuses on reducing sound and noise levels in commercial spaces to improve the environment and make it a more comfortable and pleasant place to be. But at a live sporting or music event, the opposite is often the goal! The incredible sound of a roaring crowd is a crucial part of the buzz of a live football match, creating a sense of place, belonging and atmosphere for attendees and added support for the players on the pitch.
When designing the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium, Populous were under strict instructions to create a stadium that would be noisier than the previous White Hart Lane stadium. Whilst sound travel and amplification is usually a problem when designing new buildings, for this project the plan was to maximise excitement before spectators even reached their seats.
A holistic approach to the stadium design was taken, with a core focus on creating the best possible spectator experience. As a multi-use stadium, finding the fine balance and sweet spot for reverberation time was important to ensure that the acoustics were just as suitable for a football match or a huge rock concert. High reverberation times drastically effect the clarity of sound systems, which would definitely result in a poor experience during music concerts.
The challenge of creating a loud and intimidating, yet comfortable and effective sonic environment required extensive thinking and sound design from the outset. Using sound visualisation, data and spectograms, complex site specific 3D models of the sonic environment were created. These models, known as ‘soundscapes’ allow identification of sonic ‘hot spots’ where the noise would negatively impact the space. Usually this would be areas where reverberation times were too high, or the sound tones or pitch would cause discomfort or pain for patrons.
This amazing soundscape model developed by Populous shows how the design of the Tottenham stadium creates one of the loudest match day experiences in the world.
The 17,500 seat megaphone
The Southern Stand ‘home-end’ of the stadium was designed to be a single-tiered, intimidating stand holding 17,500 of the loudest and proudest Spurs fans. With such a steep and sweeping rise of the stand, the natural acoustics are enhanced; essentially a deafening wall of noise on match days is created. Sound then bounces around inside the stand before rising through the roof, creating a 17,500 seat megaphone, just 4.9m from the the goal line.
Traditionally acoustic panels are used to absorb unwanted noise and reverberation within a space. BUT panels on the under side of the stadium roof were actually specifically installed to reflect sound back into the stadium.
The Spurs stadium is considered one of the best in the world, delivering one of the best match day experiences anywhere!