Racecourse Estate, Sunderland

Winner ANC Sound Insulation Award 2014

Apex Acoustics

Racecourse Estate, Sunderland

4th January 2015

As of January 2012 the Racecourse Passivhaus Estate in Houghton-le-Spring, Tyne and Wear, was the largest residential Passivhaus scheme in the UK, built as part of a sustainable legacy. This was a pioneering development for the UK in terms of design and scale delivering Passivhaus with a more traditional UK design aesthetic as well as a new approach to customer education and engagement.

The acoustic design is special for two distinct reasons: firstly, the performance achieved is of the highest quality – these may be the first dwellings to be measured in the UK to achieve the Class A categories for both sound insulation and ambient noise according to the Acoustic Classification Scheme proposed under COST Action TU0901, now to be adopted as an ISO Standard. Secondly, the method used to assess the sound insulation design is highly innovative, original and offers powerful insight into the performance parameters; this method is transferrable to other design and testing assessments.

The judges noted that this project combined high performance thermal design with good sound insulation which offered a good way forward for sustainable development. They were pleased to see a post-occupancy assessment was undertaken and that ambient noise and noise from the ventilation system was considered. Using the latest information from the COST programme was an illustration of innovative and original thinking which helped this project to be declared the winner.

Mark Siddall, Project Architect commented: “As architects, we are often confounded by the demands of acousticians, but we were delighted by the approach taken by Apex Acoustics on this project. They were flexible in their approach, and always had suggestions that overcame the problems of detailing the junctions to control thermal bridging and maintain the integrity of the air tightness in a buildable way, while also clearly remaining responsible for the sound insulation performance.”