N. Piccini Theatre (750 seats)

Predictive study and proposals for the improvement of architectural acoustics.


The history of the theatre

The Niccolò Piccinni Municipal Theatre, also known simply as the Piccinni Theatre, is the oldest in Bari Construction began on the building in 1836, and was not completed until 1854: on 30 May of that year, the theatre – still without an official name – was inaugurated with a performance of Poliuto by Gaetano Donizetti. In 1855, the Theatre was named after the composer from Bari, Niccolò Piccinni. Following the fire that destroyed the Petruzzelli Theatre in 1991, the Piccinni took on an even more significant role for the city.

The theatre is on Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, an important avenue in the city, near the Isabella d’Aragona Gardens.

Acoustic design

The request for the Piccinini in Bari was to optimise the acoustic response of the theatre, to the benefit of its various configurations. A detailed analysis was conducted of the current situation, regarding the covering materials contemplated in the pertinent project specifications, and their influence on the quality of acoustic response in the theatre was considered; these considerations were followed by an analysis of a proposal to improve the situation, using Sabine’s reverberation time as the reference parameter.

The sizing of the materials for acoustic correction took into account the need to control reverberation time. The materials considered for the improvement were selected for their characteristics in relation to the respective coefficients of sound absorption, robustness, compactness and non-deformability with changes to humidity and duration. Given the fine quality of the elaborate wood coverings inside the theatre, the changes proposed did not, of course, regard those surfaces, while the coverings of the loggias were studied to see whether an effective improvement could be achieved by applying a material with particularly effective acoustic performance in those areas. Following the functional hypotheses made regarding the interior coverings, the project was organised into the following stages:

  • Manual statistical calculation of reverberation time.
  • Verification using the Ramsete© acoustic simulation software: after reconstructing a 3D model of the theatre, the architectural materials in the project were assigned to the surfaces, with the respective absorption coefficient α.
  • 3D acoustic software simulations of the solution proposed and tabulation of the objective acoustic parameters in accordance with ISO-3382.
  • Presentation of the improvements in both reverberation time and STI (intelligibility).

Edil Co. S.r.l. was subsequently awarded the contract.