ASB Waterfront Theatre


ATC Trust


Wynyard Quarter, Auckland

Completion date


The ASB Waterfront Theatre is the home Auckland’s flagship professional theatre company, the Auckland Theatre Company. The theatre complex includes a 660 seat performing arts theatre along with bar, café, gallery and back-of-house spaces.

Our Brief

Marshall Day Acoustics worked as part of the design team with Moller Architects, eCubed Building Workshop and others to create a world-class drama theatre.

Our scope included the entire complex including the theatre, bar, café, gallery, back-of-house and plantroom spaces, with responsibility for the:

  • Internal room acoustics
  • Sound insulation design
  • Control of mechanical services noise

The design of the theatre included extensive ODEON acoustic modelling, 3D ray-tracing and the design of reflecting, absorbing and diffusing surfaces, along with control of intrusive noise to ensure excellent speech clarity.


The theatre space has been described as a “cedar crucible”. The concave curved form of the theatre had significant potential for detrimental acoustic effects such as sound-focussing and echoes. Custom designed diffusing/absorbing treatments were used on the rear curved walls to avoid detrimental sound-focusing and echoes, whilst preserving the architectural concept.

The flytower is surrounded by noisy plantrooms on three sides at the upper levels. Achieving cost-effective, buildable solutions to control break-out noise from these plantrooms was quite challenging given a fixed budget, earthquake requirements for flexible joints and the numerous penetrations required for services. We worked closely with Hawkins Construction to find solutions including sand-bagging of the gaps between the blockwork walls and floor slab above.


Our commissioning measurements have confirmed that the acoustic objectives of low noise and high speech clarity have been achieved. Auckland Theatre Company is delighted with the acoustics.


Eleven awards including the NZIA Architecture Medal and the Property Council Supreme Award along with a commendation at the World Architecture Festival.