The Robert C. Weaver building was constructed for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington DC. The original building, opened in 1968, housed existing office space and a cafeteria. To provide a professional space for cabinet-level officials to address the staff, HUD decided to explore the addition of an auditorium to the existing space. Working closely with Oudens + Knoop, Cerami’s acoustical consultants assisted in the development of three options for upgrading the cafeteria facilities.
The Marcel Breuer historic structure was particularly challenging, as the large exposed concrete columns throughout the proposed space could not be removed. The team worked to minimize obstructed view seats while maximizing the capacity of the facility. Cerami’s design goal throughout the project was to create a space that would be both acoustically effective and aesthetically pleasing. After careful review of the plans, three widely different layouts were proposed, including traditional tiered seating, amphitheater-style seating, or a multipurpose flat floor configuration for maximum flexibility.
In each configuration, we provided recommendations for appropriate acoustical finishes for all surfaces in the auditorium. The auditorium, designed to seat 900 people required specific finishes to meet the strict acoustic criteria as well as the historic requirements.