National Science Learning Centre (Education).

How Hepworth Acoustics resolved noise impact and acoustics quality problems at the National Science Learning Centre, York.How Hepworth Acoustics resolved noise impact and acoustics quality problems at the National Science Learning Centre, York.

Hepworth Acoustics has designed and tested the acoustics of many schools, colleges and universities. The spotlight here, however, is not a school, but is a prestigious new-build teacher training facility constructed on the York University Campus. Because of our close working partnership with National Design Consultancy, Hepworth Acoustics was able to acoustically design not only the teaching rooms and study areas, but also the mechanical services systems.

The facility includes lecture theatres, multimedia suites, science labs, resource and library areas, classrooms and offices.

Acoustic design of the atrium/display and the lecture theatre areas was critical. Hepworth Acoustics specified a number of treatments in the atrium/display area in order to reduce reverberation times and to improve the acoustics and speech intelligibility of the space. The treatments include the acoustically absorbent materials seen in the centre of the photograph (material seen hanging) and also the use of acoustic tiles.

The lecture theatres are designed so that they can be used as separate spaces or as one larger room when the dividing partition is removed. Seating can also be vertically stored at the edge of the room should space be needed rather than seating. These many variations, and of course the variation of the lecture theatres being used when full or when virtually empty, needed careful design in order that the spaces would always perform well, no matter which combination was being used on a given day. Hepworth Acoustics specified acoustic wall and ceiling treatments, the moveable wall specification and detailing, as well as the design of permanent walls, ceiling, doors etc, so that noise is controlled to a suitable level both passing from the lecture rooms to elsewhere, and passing from elsewhere to the lecture rooms.

We were involved from an early stage of the design process and gave advice and specifications for all aspects of the buildings acoustics. We used BB93 Link (External) as a reference for setting the design criteria, as it is the most appropriate standard for any educational building.

Once completed we successfully tested the building to show compliance with the original design targets.

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