Hamer Hall Renovation


Major Projects Victoria


Melbourne, VIC

Completion date


Following a competitive tendering process Marshall Day Acoustics was appointed in partnership with Kirkegaard Associates to the AUD $136 m renovation of Melbourne's Hamer Hall, designed by ARM Architecture.

Opening in 1981 and originally designed as a venue for symphonic performance, the venue's busy schedule now covers a wide range of performance types, requiring adaptable acoustic conditions and short change over times. At the same time, it remains the performance home of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and is the venue of choice for touring ensembles including the Australian Chamber Orchestra.

The renovation of the 2,400 seat concert hall included improving access for visitors to the building and circulation within it, with new foyer spaces, restaurants and bars. The heritage-sensitive refurbishment project did not only take Hamer Hall into the 21st century, it also redefined the way the Hall interacts with the city, the waterfront and the community at large.

Our Role

We were responsible for the design of the hall's new sound system.

The sound system budget was over $2 m and we were involved with the electro acoustic and sound system infrastructure design, technical specifications, schematic drawings and placement of over 130 technical panels through the hall.

The Marshall Day Acoustics team was concurrently engaged, in conjunction with Kirkegaard Associates, as the project acoustic consultant responsible for all aspects of the building’s acoustics.


The Sound System Design

The sound system was designed to provide four different modes of operation:

  • Unamplified (all loudspeakers hidden for orchestral mode)
  • Light amplified (using the centre cluster and hidden loudspeakers)
  • Standard amplified
  • Fully amplified

Due to the size of the tender, Marshall Day prepared three separate specifications.

Arts Centre staff had completed their own loudspeaker options short-listing process allowing a competitive tender to be undertaken for the system design and installation.

Over 140 active loudspeakers and over 130 new technical panels were installed modes of operation. With the hall successfully re-opening on July 28th 2013, it has been met with user’s enthusiastic approval.

"From the very first moment that we introduced musicians back on to that stage all of us had very big smiles on our faces."

Judith Isherwood - Chief Executive - Arts Centre Melbourne


Winner of the 2013 AIA Lachlan Macquarie Award for Heritage and National Award for Interior Architecture.

Feedback form the Musicians and Audience

"In the Hamer Hall you can actually sing piano, proper piano, and it will resound through the whole Hall.  It's amazing." Bass-baritone Daniel Sumegi

“New Hamer Hall restores clarity and vitality to the symphonic sound.” New acoustic reveals colours that astonish" Eamonn Kelly - The Australian