PROJECT: New music school, Kings College School, Wimbledon
COMPANY: Adrian James Acoustics
Given the planning sensitivity to building height, the consultants had to demonstrate the need for the ideal volume, height and shape of the performance space, using architectural precedents.
Starting with the ideal shape and volume allowed the acousticians to provide optimal concert hall acoustics with no absorption other than seating and audience, maximising the “Loudness” or Gain and hence achieving the maximum possible dynamic range.
This approach requires very effective diffusing and scattering finishes on walls and roof to avoid strong room modes and flutter echoes.
Working closely with the architect and structural engineers, an innovative modular system of visually striking, flat surface, diffusing finishes was designed which perform an acoustic, architectural and structural function both in the concert hall and in the large rehearsal/recording room.
The Concert Hall features strong triangular geometric elements both externally and internally, with triangular timber panels between exposed glue-lam structural timber beams.
The architects wanted a visually flat surface, so an entirely novel system of modular diffusers was developed by overlaying layers of board with CNC-machined slots of differing sizes. It is a very elegant and affordable solution to an otherwise intractable acoustic and architectural design challenge.
The judges observed that this project displayed the value of collaboration with other consultants and were impressed that the form and massing on the building had been informed by the acoustic strategy.
The use of flat diffusers has enabled the project to be delivered within the architectural requirements. The Head of Music described it as “A stunning concert hall of exceptional acoustic quality”.