Pressure Cooker Studios

Cape Town
South Africa

The Space

Pressure Cooker Studios is a modern multi-room post production facility with focus on music composition and sound design for television and film.  With business growth driving the need to expand, a decision was made to develop new and larger studio operations on the top floor of a mid century office building in the core of Cape Town.  The 1957 building, located on Strijdom Avenue adjacent to Thibault Square, is a concrete and brick structure with modest ceiling heights and minimal mechanical and electrical infrastructure.  A key feature of the building are two full window banks on the north and south end that offer great views and natural light.

The Vision

Working with James Matthes and his colleagues, the intent was to develop a multi-functional environment with a relaxed and non-corporate feel.  It was very important to create spaces that were conducive with creative process.  The use of natural materials and leveraging of the ambient light in the space were instrumental in creating organic end result.

The Design

One of the main challenges was to provide space for all the studios required.  The facility features two main control rooms which sandwich a main studio proper, a post theatre with adjacent ADR booth, five writing rooms, an independent isolation booth, reception, lounge and common spaces.  Originally occupying parts of the 8th and 9th floors, a concept was finalized with all the required spaces on the tenth floor.

The limited ceiling height offered by the building also created serious challenges in realizing efficient air-handling and climate control.  The air systems also needed to have low background noise consistent with the use of each space.  This system is exposed in the common areas and fully integrated in the studio spaces.

The spaces also feature fully isolated construction that provides a high degree of sound isolation between studios as well as between the studios and building neighbors.

The control rooms use our proven controlled reflection geometry (CRG) to create smooth and accurate listening conditions.  The post theatre uses a splayed wall adaptation of CRG to create an easily calibrated space for Dolby and other applications.

Natural light is used everywhere possible and light-colored finishes allow the ambience to diffuse throughout the spaces.

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