Acoustics Vs. Democracy?

“Many acousticians agree that the safest way to ensure a good sound environment for orchestral music is to emulate the old, aristocratically modeled halls of 18th and 19th century Europe: a shoebox shape, with a proscenium arch and a horseshoe of ornate boxes to diffuse the sound. The current wave of concert halls, though, favors a ‘vineyard’ style, featuring terraced seats rising above the stage and arrayed around its flanks and rear. This arrangement is acoustically risky (though it has also produced wonderful results in the Philharmonie in Berlin), but socially desirable. It blurs visual borders between different sections of the house and brings each seat much closer to the stage than is possible in a traditional ‘shoebox,’ thereby creating a feeling of intimacy even in a very big room.”