Landmark with Pristine Sound
Giant Multi-purpose Convention Centre Opened in China
Property developers in Dalian, a seaport town in the North-eastern Chinese province of Liaoning, have great plans. A new international harbour built specifically for cruise liners will boost tourism. The existing container port has been moved and a new town district is being built on newly reclaimed land. An urban atmosphere is evolving and a new bridge crossing the bay provides direct access to the city centre. One new landmark has already been erected: the Dalian International Conference Center
Almost giving the impression of a small roofed town, the awe-inspiring building ensemble is located in the heart of the new city district close to the sea, a prominent addition to the city skyline. It serves the entire region as a convention centre, theatre, opera house and exhibition centre. The complex will shape the cultural and economic life of the region significantly in the future. The goals are ambitious. Like every other aspect of the building, the technical design was based on a single premise: Nothing but the highest quality equipment. Everything must be consistent, from the highest audio quality and maximum flexibility to optimal robustness with absolute reliability of the associated equipment. The Chinese branch is a major player in the provision of high-quality audio systems for large-scale Chinese projects. CEO Zeng Dong said in retrospect: “Everyone involved was soon convinced that the audio system should be based on STAGETEC components.”
This building is unconventional and so is the interior floor plan. At the core of the building are the large opera hall called the Star Grand Theatre with a seating capacity of 1,600, comparable with La Scala in Milan, and the adjacent Ball Room, which is actually a flexible multi-purpose convention space for 2,500 people. Thanks to this arrangement the main stage is shared by the two venues, the classical theatre auditorium and the multi-purpose hall. The main stage also features wings just like a traditional theatre. This variable layout scheme extends the possible application options ranging from conventions to chamber music and symphonic performances, to theatre productions and classical opera.
From a technical perspective, the two largest venues in the building – the Star Grand Theatre and the Ball Room – are of particular interest. A NEXUS network, which provides functionality extending far beyond audio routing, forms the basis of the flexible event-management system.
The theatre hall audio-control room houses a fully equipped CRESCENDO with 40-faders which can be supported with a mobile 24-fader daughter console used for FOH or Monitor application. One 24-fader AURATUS is installed as an FOH desk in the Ball Room. Whether used for sound-reinforcement, playout, recording or producing, this combination of consoles together with the networking ensure that the audio systems can be utilised in many different configurations to suit the wide range of purposes the rooms are used for.
For this project the link between Germany and China combines more than just the audio systems. Observers well-versed in contemporary architecture will notice immediately that the building bears the same signature as the BMW Welt complex in Munich opened in 2007. Both buildings are the work of the Austrian architectural design studio COOP HIMMELB(L)AU and are based on a steel space frame.
The building’s framework spans distances of more than 85 metres with cantilevers of over 40 metres. Dalian used to be a shipyard site and the local shipbuilders clearly made a significant contribution to the construction of the steel framework with their skills and expertise.
The building construction was completed in June 2012, followed by installation and testing of the technical systems. The official opening ceremony was at Christmas 2012, with star pianist Lang Lang top of the bill.
There is a bright future with even more opportunities for Vivace when used in combination with CRESCENDO and its extensive scene-automation features. For example, using a MIDI link or the NEXUS logic-programming features, the Vivace acoustics presets might even be triggered from the console-automation functionality. With this extensive system, the Dalian International Conference Center sound crew have a truly powerful toolkit at their disposal! A prime example of the use of a Vivace and NEXUS set-up for the increasingly important live entertainment and events markets. Incidentally, Lang Lang enjoyed the Grand Theatre. Did he know why this hall – which is actually too large and in particular, too high for a chamber-music or solo piano performance – sounded so inspiring? Today we give him the answer – in Italian: Vivace.