Wave Engineering recently had the pleasure of working with St. Catherine Greek Orthodox Church near Denver, CO to enhance the acoustics of their sanctuary. We used EASE acoustical modeling software to investigate changes to the surface finishes and shape of the room in order to maintain speech intelligibility and improve projection from the choir loft. As part of our analysis we also had the opportunity to research optimum acoustics for Byzantine chant, which is a key component of Greek Orthodox services.
As you can see in the photos, the sanctuary is a beautiful space with multiple arches and domes, which also made it tricky to model in the software. Fortunately, Tim Politis with 1ine Studio provided a detailed SketchUp model of the room as a starting point.
The EASE model allowed us to look at many different acoustical metrics in addition to the traditional reverberation time, and we were able to map the effect of different options across the seating area. This better informed the changes to the choir loft.
We also used EASE to create auralizations of the different options, and we presented these on headphones to the church representatives so that they could hear and evaluate the changes. One of the elements we modeled was how much the reverberation would change with occupancy since the pews are not padded. Listen to the speech and chant clips below to hear the difference between the empty room and fully occupied, for example.
Speech – Unoccupied
Speech – Fully Occupied
Speech – Chant Unoccupied
Speech – Chant Occupied
For a complex room, 3D acoustical modeling provides a wealth of information beyond what can be achieved with a simple spreadsheet analysis of reverberation time. Wave Engineering has the software and experience to take your acoustical design to the next level too.