Pickering Medal awarded for innovative acoustic design

28 November 2013

Emeritus Professor Sir Harold Marshall from the School of Architecture and Planning at the University of Auckland has been awarded the Pickering Medal by the Royal Society of New Zealand, in recognition of his innovative acoustic design.

Sir Harold, who is a former Professor of Architecture and also headed the Acoustics Research Centre at the University, is the co-founder of Marshall Day Acoustics, a world-renowned firm of acoustic consultants.

For over thirty years Sir Harold has explored asymmetry in acoustic design, with his methods now acknowledged as the preferred genre for concert halls. Recognised as one of the most talented acoustic designers of the 20th and 21st centuries, Sir Harold’s work includes the Christchurch Town Hall, the Guangzhou Opera House and more recently the Philharmonie de Paris. The Guangzhou Opera House received an RIBA International Award for architectural excellence, with the citation stating ‘for all the auditorium's asymmetry, the acoustics are perfect’.

“Sir Harold Marshall has made an outstanding contribution to acoustics research, teaching and practice in Australasia and beyond, having taught and inspired generations of architecture students at the University of Auckland, pioneered acoustic research in New Zealand at The Centre for Acoustic Research, and designed a number of the world’s highest quality acoustic performance environments as a consultant acoustician,” says Professor Diane Brand, Dean of the National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries. “The University warmly congratulates Sir Harold on having receiving this honour from the Royal Society,” she says.

The Pickering Medal is awarded annually. Named after William Pickering, a New Zealand born, world-acclaimed rocket scientist, the medal is bestowed on a person who, while in New Zealand, has through design, development or invention, produced innovative work of importance both nationally and internationally, or which have led to significant commercial success.

Sir Harold has received a multitude of accolades. In 2008 he was made a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to acoustical science and in 2009 he accepted the title Knight Companion of the Order, KNZM.

For media enquiries email m.playfair@auckland.ac.nz