Hill Auditorium - Design Concept

Design Concept

Carol Rose Kahn, the architect’s granddaughter recounted that her grandfather had set out to develop a hall with perfect acoustics. The brief was to design an auditorium that would seat five thousand people, where they could hear from every seat. The only known previous example was the Mormon Tabernacle where, it was said that one could hear a pin drop from the stage to the top balcony, although the chamber suffered from excess reverberation.

Being aware that only one man in the country who was pre-eminent at that time – Hugh Tallant, partner of Henry Beaumont Herts – Kahn wrote to ask him if it would be possible to build an auditorium for five thousand people, where they'd hear from every seat. Tallant responded, but only after several months had elapsed, to the affirmative; so Tallant designed the acoustics. The result was an auditorium in the shape of a megaphone. The granddaughter said: "Hill Auditorium was nearly finished when I was fourteen or so. My father and I went out to Ann Arbor. Father stood up in the last seat of the second balcony, and I went down on the stage. On my word of honor, I dropped a pin and he heard it."

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