Alcatraz Island has a colorful and checkered legacy. Originally it was a fort and bunker guarding the entrance of San Francisco Bay, it is now part of the Golden Gate National Parks Association (G.G.N.P.A.) facilities. The cell blocks and prison buildings are built on top of the cannon bunkers, now the location of the visitor's center. The various exhibits are housed in small brick munitions rooms with concrete floors - a challenging environment for sound presentation.
G.G.N.P.A. producer Jon Plutte's film "We Hold the Rock" explores the Native American Occupation of Alcatraz in 1969 - 1971. The film is the centerpiece for the Occupation Exhibit in one of the munitions rooms. We designed a resilient wall system and modified the reflective geometry of the space to absorb and diffuse the specular reflections of the room, allowing visitors to hear the fidelity of the film's sound. The wall system surfaces were able to accommodate posters and other visual elements without compromising the sound quality of the modified room.
We also designed, programmed and installed a media control system to run the various film events in the visitor's center, synchronizing the presentations with the seasonal ferry schedules and the visitor flow. Future projects include modifying the acoustics of the main theater in the old cannon bunkers to improve sound clarity, speech intelligibility and the overall acoustical qualities.