Acoustic study of the Roman theatre of Pompeii: Comparison between existing condition and future installation of two parametric acoustic shellsa)

J Acoust Soc Am. 2023 Oct 1;154(4):2211-2226. doi: 10.1121/10.0021312.


Roman theatres have always been the subject of research that takes into account not only acoustics, but also archaeological and architectural aspects. It is difficult to draw the boundary line between these disciplines since the interrelation between the different types of expertise is necessary to allow a good production of contemporary architecture in a specific context, such as a Roman theatre. This paper deals with the acoustic analysis of three specific scenarios in the context of the Roman theatre of Pompeii. The reconstruction of the original form, which represents the first scenario, is based on the recent archaeological findings of the ancient city, which was buried for almost two millennia after the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius. The second scenario envisions a future acoustic shell in the form of a mushroom, where the ceiling is the continuation of the vertical surface. The third scenario consists of a parametric design of a shell, representing a modern style velarium; as the curve creates focusing effects, the addition of reflective panels directs the sound evenly to the audience. These latest two architectural designs are intended to make the archaeological site of Pompeii suitable for live concerts and contemporary venues. The digital model representing the current conditions was calibrated with the measured values; the calibrated model was used to study the design of two parametric shell options, proposed as alternatives to provide good acoustics to the audience. The simulated results indicate that the main acoustic parameters are closer to or within the optimal values, resulting in a significant improvement in the acoustic performance of the space.