The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts was designed with the overriding principles of creating an exceptional auditory and theatrical experience for patrons as well as a democratic, open and engaging space within the city. The opera house is designed to make accessible an art form that has long been considered elitist. By revealing the procession and activity associated with attending a performance, a new audience is cultivated and a new relationship formed between the patron and the city.
The Four Seasons Centre is a building in harmony with its context and innovative in design. It has excelled in providing audience interest and comfort, has created operational efficiencies and achieved an acoustic and theatrical experience among the very best in the world.
and from Halcrow website:
The floating glass staircase
Believed to be the longest span for a glass stair in the world
Architects: Diamond and Schmitt Architects
Role: Full structural engineering services, building envelope consulting services
The $102 million Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts is the new home for the Canadian Opera Company (COC) and a new performance venue for the National Ballet of Canada.
Halcrow Yolles provided full structural engineering and building envelope consulting services for the fast-tracked construction of this 15,000m² world-class opera house.
Standing in the opera’s entrance lobby known as the City Room, theatre goers are surrounded by a transparent, five storey glass wall façade. The Grand Staircase, a feature in the City Room, rises three storeys from the Orchestra to the Grand Ring level and is a focal point upon entering the Four Seasons Centre. Innovatively designed and engineered, the floating glass staircase is believed to be the longest span for a glass stair in the world. The box office, retail space, Henry N.R. Jackman Lounge and the glass-walled Aerial Amphitheatre – a small rehearsal hall – are located on this main lobby level.
From the outset of the project the design team was focused on creating an intimate space within the hall, providing excellent acoustics and isolating the performance spaces from external sources of noise and vibration. The hall plan was based on the horseshoe shape, modeled after the great opera houses of Europe.
Known as the R. Fraser Elliott Hall, the 2,000 seat horseshoe-shaped auditorium is ringed by four tiers of balconies. The 28.5m wide auditorium is comprised of five levels: the orchestra, box level, and first and second balconies. The horseshoe configuration is a fundamental design component of the room, as it maximises sightlines and achieves the best possible acoustics for all theatre goers at all levels. In the Four Seasons Centre, 73 per cent of all seats are within a 30.5m cylinder of centre stage, with the farthest seat only 40m from the stage.
The deep, 6.1m wide orchestra pit can accommodate up to 100 musicians. The main stage is served by a 33m fly tower, stage rigging and lighting equipment. A full side stage and rear stage allow for three productions in repertory. The back-of-house areas include administration space, dressing rooms and the rehearsal room, located adjacent to the stage.
The auditorium, stage and rehearsal hall are designed as an entirely separate and isolated structure from the rest of the building. This separation of the outer building eliminates outside noises and achieves the goal of an N-1 sound isolation rating.
The facility also includes below-grade parking for 200 cars and a direct connection to the subway.