Historic Chapel Renovation
The Duke University Chapel, completed in 1935, is one of the tallest university chapels in the world, standing 210 feet in the center of the campus. Like many gothic cathedrals, the room is stunning, supporting unamplified music and congregational worship. But the elements that make the space beautiful and supportive of music were working against speech intelligibility. Salas O’Brien analyzed existing acoustic conditions and recommended improving the sound system as part of an ongoing chapel renewal project. We also developed a detailed acoustic model for the room and designed the loudspeakers for performance and architectural aesthetics. We performed post-commissioning testing to confirm that we achieved the predicted results. The chapel now supports clear speech intelligibility, minimal reverberation, and excellent sound quality.