HARMAN has set an example of how technology can support aesthetically appealing yet challenging and complex architectures. Our sound solutions at House of Worship- the GLOBAL VIPASSANA PAGODA in Mumbai is a testament of great engineering and domain knowledge. The Global Vipassana Pagoda serves as a monument of peace and harmony and seats over 8000 people. The traditional Burmese design is an expression of gratitude towards the country of Myanmar for preserving their practice of Vipassana. A marvelous building, built using ancient Indian technology to enable it to last for a thousand years.
The center of the Global Vipassana Pagoda is the world’s largest stone dome, built without supporting pillars. It took 8 years to finish the construction. The inside of the Pagoda is hollow with the highest point in the inner dome at 29m. With mid frequency reverberation time at more than 8 seconds, the Pagoda is an acoustically challenging space. The interior of the Pagoda doesn’t allow any acoustic treatment. What added to our challenge, is that, most of the lessons or teachings are recordings from 1970s to 1980s, all recorded through live events!
Using HARMAN’s revolutionary Digital Directivity Control (DDC) & Digital Directivity Synthesis (DDS) technologies, we installed two DS500 loudspeakers near the periphery of the dome, spaced 10m apart from each other. The loudspeakers cover the whole floor area in an even way, providing uniform coverage and excellent speech intelligibility in the Pagoda.
Resembling the Main Pagoda, there’s a small Pagoda north of the main dome, again, a stone construction with similar acoustical challenges as the main Pagoda. While installing the JBL CBT100 loudspeakers, we had to ensure that the sound doesn’t create too much noise because this space is used for multiple 20 minute meditation sessions throughout the day.
Mumbai is a coastal location and the Pagoda is near a creek, thus exposing it to harsh weather conditions. Long lasting and weather resistant sound solutions from HARMAN, the AWC82 loudspeakers- were therefore the best option.
Acknowledging the challenges of this iconic monument and appreciating the superior consultation and solutions provided by HARMAN, one of the trustees, Lokesh Goenka had this to say- “For the Global Vipassana Pagoda monument, which sees more than 800,000 visitors annually, we were looking for an audio solution which could also be used as a PA system. However, the biggest challenge was to cover the 15 acres area with weather resistant sound solutions providing seamless and high quality sound. It’s been a year now since the HARMAN systems have been functioning at Global Vipassana Pagoda, and we are glad of our partnership. We thank the entire team for the setup and support they are providing us.”