Hamer Hall Renovation


Major Projects Victoria



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 Brief

In addition to the room acoustics within the auditorium and associated foyer spaces, Marshall Day Acoustics' brief extended to sound insulation, building services noise control, and external noise intrusion.

The Auditorium

For musicians, the conditions on stage have been dramatically improved, with new stage surround walls and a new over stage reflector. The stage has been more effectively coupled to the auditorium with the removal of parts of the side balcony arms and rebuilt wall surfaces close to the stage. The stalls have been narrowed to increase envelopment in the lower audience areas. The sound quality in the circle seats is richer and is more even. The sound in the balcony is warmer with greater clarity particularly in the bass registers.

Visitor Spaces

The renovation included improving access for visitors to the building and circulation within it, with new foyer spaces, restaurants and bars. Improvement to the acoustic conditions included reviewing sound insulation throughout the building, reduction of the auditorium's mechanical service noise levels, and installation of a new sound system and audience seats.

Sound System Design

Marshall Day Acoustics was engaged to design and specify a new concert standard sound system and associated infrastructure in collaboration with the Arts Centre. This  involved the complex task of integrating new hidden loudspeaker enclosures into the architectural finishes of the hall and designing a production sound system to suit major international touring artists.

Over one hundred new technical panels were added to provide flexibility for current and future needs. A new system for wireless audio and stage management communications systems were also designed.


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


"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