In a remote corner of the world, even if in reality it is not so remote, as it is located near Soweto, Johannesburg, and Pretoria, the largest cities in South Africa, we discovered quite by chance a structure dedicated to the world of sound simply fantastic. It is the BOP Recording Studios & Resort (BRS), designed and built in the early nineties by Swiss architect Thomas Rast and world-renowned acoustician Tom Hidley.
The time frame when it was conceived corresponds also, in sound terms, to the transition from analog to digital technology, from the exasperated search for quality to the concentration for quantity, and this is all well represented at BRS. The acoustics, the design, the choice of materials, the equipment installed, the partly pioneering technical solutions, make it a cult object, worldwide unique, unrepeatable nowadays - worthy of being registered as a world heritage site.
Unfortunately, because of the political instability of the country towards the end of the last century, or because of the incapacity to understand its value by some unscrupulous business men in charge of it at some point in time, the fate was mean with the BRS, to the point that in recent years it got virtually unused. And such a structure if not used perishes.
Save the BRS is a techno-campaign driven by the great passion of Stefano S. Cavaglieri, technical manager of the Swiss National Sound Archives, for such things, and supported by the Phonotheque itself, with the aim to restore the BRS to its full shine, revaluing it by expanding its activities and including it in the context of the preservation of the sound heritage as the engineering and academic center of excellence for South Africa and neighboring countries.
This initiative therefore falls within the leitmotif, to use musical terminology, the Phonotheque called Raising the Q-bar, which, as already happened in the past when working with the Mexican National Sound Archives for the creation of a center of excellence for Latin America, aims on one hand to promote the preservation of the world's sound heritage and on the other to the dissemination of that heritage by offering the highest listening quality, thus maximizing the experience of those who benefit.
For further information, technical details, and images: English