Arup Provides TED2014 Vancouver Theatre Audio and Acoustic Design

Acoustic modelling proves key for design of the extraordinary 1,200-seat pop-up theatre

VANCOUVER - Arup, a multidisciplinary engineering and consulting firm with a reputation for delivering innovative and sustainable designs, announced today that it is pleased to have collaborated with TED, the nonprofit dedicated to Ideas Worth Spreading, to design the acoustics and audio systems for 30(th) Anniversary TED2014 Conference held in March. A centerpiece of the conference was the 1,200 seat temporary theater, designed by Rockwell Group, built within the main ballroom at the Vancouver Convention Centre in the span of one week.

Unsure of the acoustics that the ballroom would deliver, TED engaged Arup during the design phase to acoustically model the new theatre and audio design in 3D.  Advanced modeling expertise developed at Arup was used to present a virtual "TED Talk" that could be auditioned simultaneously for audiences in the networked Arup SoundLabs in New York and San Francisco. 

"ARUP's team was fantastic to work with and they played a key role in determining the acoustic issues we were facing in building a theatre in a ballroom," said Katherine McCartney, director of operations for TED. "Without ARUP's skill and insight we may have successfully built a theatre in six days and had phenomenal presenters, but failed at providing a quality acoustical experience in the room. I recognized early on that professional acoustical experience was required, and sought out the team at ARUP to model the room, identify the challenges, provide feedback for remediation and develop an equipment specification. We were happy with the end result and know we can move forward confidently having this work behind us." 

Using Arup SoundLab's ambisonic playback system to recreate the audience experience in 3D, a variety of acoustic and audio design changes were considered and weighed against TED's own high standards and expectations. 

Integrating TED's feedback to refine to the design, Arup worked in cooperation with the Vancouver Convention Centre, Rockwell Group, and the technical providers to turn the acoustic model into a realistic program on an accelerated schedule. The result is a theater within the ballroom that features high-quality acoustics for music, voice and streaming audio.

Arup also designed the audio systems for the simulcast centers throughout the Vancouver Convention Centre, as well as at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler Hotel, which hosted TEDActive 2014.

About Arup 

Arup is the creative force at the heart of many of the world's most prominent projects in the built environment and across industry. Its engineers and consultants deliver innovative projects across the world. Arup opened its first US office 25 years ago, and now employs 1,000 in the Americas. The firm was founded in 1946 with an enduring set of values that fosters a distinctive culture, intellectual independence and collaborative approach. The people at Arup are driven to find a better way to deliver better solutions for their clients. (

For further information please contact:

Rebecca Maloney, LEED AP, CPSM 


m +1 617-412-6632



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