Ravensbourne University London is a digital media and design university, with vocational courses in fashion, television and broadcasting, interactive product design, architecture and environment design, graphic design, animation, moving image, music production for media and sound design.
Spanning multiple levels, the university features lots of open spaces including both atrium and open classroom/study areas where there is little physical division. Sound travel was a significant issue, with noise from multiple areas spilling over and causing disruptions to those working.
The building also features hard concrete floors and walls throughout, resulting in heavy reverberation all over the university. Once filled with students, the noise levels would rise gradually; and without any sound absorption in place, it would quickly become an uncomfortable and distracting environment. Due to the open plan design, the Lombard effect would come into play as people would begin to talk louder and louder until no one could easily understand what each-other is saying.
Resonics were engaged to solve these acoustic issues. We used a range of products, focusing heavily on the use of acoustic ceiling panels which are heavy-duty absorbers that do an excellent job at dispersing reverberation in large open areas. We fitted Ecophon Solo rafts throughout areas of the university, including in classrooms, the atrium, circulation areas and more. We also used Ecophon Solo Circles and integrated them with the circular windows, matching the existing design elements of the building.
In addition, we installed large modular hanging acoustic screens to prevent sound travel between the atrium and classrooms. These Aircone screens from Abstracta also add a 3-dimensional and multi-coloured design feature that effectively absorbs excess reverberation on both sides of the screen.
We also installed a comprehensive Soft dB sound masking system within the campus library. Sound masking systems allow room users to control the input of sound into offices, restaurants, classrooms and any other space by ‘masking’ environmental sounds and drowning out disruptive noises.
Photography: Ben Pipe