Robert Essert – Founding Director

For Robert Essert, the founding Director of Sound Space Design, the pursuit of excellence in arts buildings has been a career defining passion and the holistic excellence of acoustic, performance practicality and architectural integrity are the three cornerstones on which it has been built.  The success of this approach has led to collaborations with many of the leading Architects of our day including Jean Nouvel, Norman Foster, Zaha Hadid and IM Pei and on award winning projects internationally.

During a 30+ year long career working for world-leading acoustical firms focused on arts and culture Bob has been responsible for over 100 completed arts and cultural buildings, from small gems to prestigious international concerts halls and opera theatres.

Bob’s  expertise includes auditorium, concert hall, opera and theatre design, ,music and speech performance acoustics, spatial sound and virtual environments.  He has a special interest in perception of music and speech and application to design and measurement.  He also works hard in pursuit of improvements in technology to facilitate the dramatic silence that Sound Space Design holds dear in its performance spaces.

Essert founded Sound Space Design in London in 2002 to deliver the very best acoustics in collaborative relationships with design teams and an eagerness to look toward architecture and technology of the future.  The collaborative approach favoured by Sound Space Design has led to many award winning projects that maintain the highest acoustical standards.  Menuhin Hall, Surrey in the UK, The Four Seasons Centre for the Canadian Opera Company and Koerner Hall at the Royal Conservatory Toronto, Winspear Opera House, La Maison Symphonique have all garnered national and/or international recognition for architectural and acoustical excellence.  Essert has led the SSD team to success in other building types where acoustics is important to the occupants and/or challenging in design — churches, law courts, parliaments, lecture rooms and outdooor venues.

From 1997-2002 Robert held the post of Associate Director of Arup Acoustics UK during which time his acoustical designs include Sage Gateshead UK (1700 seat concert hall, 400 seat “3-D recital hall” and music school) and the renovation and restoration of Matchams’ historic Hackney Empire Theatre and the prestigious Almeida Theatre, London.  His other significant design contributions include the Concertgebouw Bruges, Wales Millenium Centre Cardiff and Royal Opera House London.

Between 1980 and 1996 Robert worked with the late Russell Johnson at Artec Consultants, New York where he rose to become Deputy Chairman.  As Principle Acoustician and/or Project Manager he can claim numerous acoustical successes including the world class Culture and Congress Centre, Lucerne, The Esplanade, Singapore and Chan Shun Concert Hall and studio theatre, Vancouver which he describes as a “ground breaking synthesis of acoustical excellence and beauty of form”.   In 2009 Bob’s earlier contributions to the Arts District in downtown Dallas came full circle, when SSD’s Winspear Opera House acoustic opened to great acclaim by the Dallas Opera performers and audiences.


  • BSc Engineering and Music, Yale University
  • MSc Mechanical Engineering (Acoustics), University of Texas


  • Institute of Acoustics
  • Acoustical Society of America
  • International Society for the Performing Arts
  • Audio Engineering Society