The Houseboat, Poole

Winner – Building Acoustics Award 2019

Apex Acoustics


The Houseboat, Poole

The Solidspace concept for modern living is a split-level, open plan design which demands a new approach to acoustic design, as there are neither references nor literature describing desirable acoustic conditions in such a space. The acousticians drew on seminal soundscape principles to prioritise the acoustic issues for the users.
The consultants followed the core soundscape qualitative data collection principles of guided interviews and non-participatory observations, as well as reviewing user feedback from previous Solidspace developments. This approach prioritised users’ acoustic concerns and enabled the design to respond to these. Acoustic modelling and auralisation was used to communicate the acoustic possibilities with the developer.


See more about this project here.

New Music School, Kings College School, Wimbledon

The project locates a music teaching and performance facility on a very sensitive site, close to houses whose influential owners were concerned about the building’s size and potential noise nuisance. 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.


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Project One 1 New Street Square, London

This is Deloitte’s new flagship London HQ, housing 5,500 employees. Deloitte’s philosophy was that design could affect cultural change. The sound environment would be key to successfully operating the building; directly linking to the health, wellbeing, and productivity-potential for Deloitte people.
The ambitious aspiration to create this new type of inspirational workplace presented multiple challenges; demanding a willingness to embrace fresh approaches, original thinking, and the need to scrutinise acoustic quality beyond conventional guidance. From this new kind of collaborative design and delivery process, innovation ensued and knowledge was gained; information that can positively feed into the creation of modern, acoustically-optimised, workplaces.


See more about this project here.

Paddington Square

The project used innovative and complex numerical modelling to assess potential changes in vibration levels due to the redevelopment of Royal Mail Group buildings next to Paddington Station. The project is the demolition of buildings, and the construction of a 17-storey commercial building resting on a podium which is to be connected, via tunnels, to the Underground station.
The complex nature of the underground rail network, which includes numerous curved tunnels and trains travelling at different speeds, meant that the project presented unprecedented challenges. Cutting-edge vibration modelling techniques were used to investigate how changes to the ground conditions would affect vibration propagation, and advanced the understanding and application of those modelling techniques in the process, in order to apply them to the specific constraints and challenges posed by the project. The approach has been accepted by Westminster City Council (WCC) and can be applied to future projects to identify issues and inform mitigation measures prior to construction, allowing developers and design teams to be proactive with respect to potential vibration impacts.



See more about this project here.

Crossrail C510 Whitechapel and Liverpool Street Station Platform Tunnels

The construction of 200m long platform tunnels for two new underground stations – this was the first Crossrail contract to use Sprayed Concrete Lining (SCL) techniques in close proximity to sensitive receptors. The requirement to design mitigation measures to control significant contributions of airborne noise, structure-borne noise, groundborne noise and vibration is considered unprecedented and was closely scrutinised by the Regulatory authorities due to the level of perceived risk at this site.


Challenges included continuing major 24/7 tunnelling and support activities in close proximity to high density residential properties 5m from the site boundary.  The main tunnel access and other smaller shaft structures required careful scheduling of any invasive works in and around the shafts. To enable the tunnel spoil removal activities to continue  24/7 it was necessary to design, specify and test massive acoustic enclosures with closable acoustic doors and associated silenced tunnel ventilation systems to fit around the mucking area and spoil transfer area, and ensure the neighbouring concrete batching plant was also highly sound insulated. Together with monitoring equipment suppliers, the consultants deployed web-based noise monitors on this project with innovative, real-time capabilities and audio capture used to distinguish construction noise from other sources and from other neighbouring contractors.


The judges were impressed by the level of mitigation from existing and novel solutions.  They recognised the efforts made through the development of empirical correction factors rather than relying on generic figures to predict vibration activities. From the outset, there had been acceptance of the need to address noise issues and this was demonstrated through collaboration with other stakeholders.


As the Project Director, noted: “This included the research, development and successful implementation of prediction tools never before used in such a way, ultimately to the benefit of the local building occupants. This was a multi-faceted acoustical design project in its own right and unusual in the range of noise and vibration issues that required attention at pre-planning stages.