West Market Street United Methodist Church
Renovation of this late 19th century “Richardson Romanesque” style church included limited enhancement of natural room acoustics to support a new pipe organ by Dobson/Rosales (1999) and the church’s excellent music program. Typical of the Methodist Akron plan, this sanctuary has a large radius open plan chancel platform, major axis on the diagonal, radial plan congregation seating, three-side wraparound balcony, and a relatively low ceiling with a large dome. An overflow annex (also with a wraparound balcony) is attached at the left side of the main worship space. Speech acoustics were not particularly challenging, but architectural and visual restrictions for loudspeakers were significant. Our preliminary design work showed that it would have been nearly impossible to successfully implement traditional loudspeaker systems in this uniquely American church. The solution is an unusual steerable line array loudspeaker model having a tightly controlled coverage pattern highly suited for the radial chancel and pew configuration (it remains the only one of its kind in the United States). We also worked with the line array manufacturer to adapt two standard short line arrays into a unique dual ended design for the smaller annex.