Case Study – Environmental: Non-Infrastructure


SPONSOR: Brüel & Kjær

PROJECT: Pentagon Motors, Chatham

COMPANY: MLM Group part of Sweco


The site was formerly a car repairs facility (Pentagon Motors) and is bounded by a viaduct and a night club.

The application involved the change of use of the site for construction of a 7-storey building comprising a total of 35 apartments.

The EHO was very concerned with potential health detriments from noise to future occupants. The night club owners were firmly opposed to the scheme as it could compromise their future operations.

The scheme was re-designed several times to ensure that good acoustic conditions would be achieved while providing an optimum balance with other design constraints and ensuring an architectural design appealing for the regeneration of the area.

Key acoustic aspects of the re-design included: re-orientation of the internal layout, with no bedrooms facing the night-club; central corridor relocated to form an external corridor facing the night-club; high acoustic performance winter gardens to habitable rooms facing the night-club and the viaduct.

In the words of the Environmental Protection Officer: “This is a very good example of the local authority officers, developers and their acoustic consultants working towards solutions that will provide satisfactory levels of amenity in a very challenging environment.”


This was a complex project with high quality visual, amenity and acoustic features.

The judges were impressed by how the acousticians kept pushing to redesign the site despite initial rebuffs. Although the acoustic elements are familiar, this project is an excellent example of the acoustician influencing design of the site.

The holistic and collaborative approach during the design stage to overcome the extreme acoustic challenges of the site means this project also receives recognition as ‘good acoustic design’.