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Hamel Music Center Earns ACEC National Recognition Award

MADISON, WI — raSmith of Brookfield, Wisconsin, has earned a National Recognition Award for exemplary engineering achievement in the American Council of Engineering Companies’ (ACEC) 53rd annual Engineering Excellence Awards (EEA) for the Hamel Music Center at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Designers wanted the building’s acoustics and sound isolation to be top-tier for performances, not an easy task given traffic noise from nearby University Avenue, lobby chatter, loud HVAC systems, and music played in adjacent halls. The solution was to make the concert, recital, and rehearsal halls as three separate buildings within one large overall building. Each hall is self-supporting and isolated from the main lobby to the overall building and required support space using double-wall construction.

The concert hall’s interior walls are lined with an acoustical coffer system, a series of strategically sized and placed circles. Along with providing sound treatment, the system blends with the rest of the hall’s aesthetics. Concealed reverberation chamber areas, where sound passes through, flank the stage. The Hamel Music Center now offers a performance schedule with nearly double the number of events of its predecessor facility.

The project is eligible for additional honors as part of a record 203 entries this year representing engineering excellence from throughout the nation and the world. Judging for the awards program took place in February and was conducted by a national 35-member panel of built environment leaders, along with experts from government, the media, and academia. Award criteria focused on uniqueness and originality, technical innovation, social and economic value, and generating excitement for the engineering profession.

Recognition of all award winners including top winners — 20 Honor Awards, 16 Grand Awards, and the Grand Conceptor Award for the year’s most outstanding overall engineering achievement — will take place at the annual EEA Dinner and Gala, a black-tie event to be held on April 28 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C.

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