acoustic design

Space aged acoustic design in South Australia

Hamilton Secondary College has some new features as part of a state-of-the-art multi-million-dollar upgrade, including an innovative program designed for high school students to prepare them for a future in space and STEM careers.

The upgrade includes a specially designed planetarium plus ‘The building works also includes the development of a new Performing Arts Centre, featuring a 152-seat theatre, two music classrooms and music practice rooms, as well as the major refurbishment of the existing music and drama building to create flexible learning spaces.’

Our role in helping this terrific upgrade come together was to assist architects, Totalspace Design, with the acoustical design from the beginning of the project, particularly around the distinctive planetarium and performing arts facility, which involved a unique design.

The newly constructed auditorium and performance space, which was to be separated with a dividing partition for the multi-use as one whole space and two separate spaces, required careful attention.

As one of Australia’s leading acoustic consulting firms, we aim to have the highest quality outcome while operating within the available project budget. And in this instance, we wanted to help the architects achieve their interior design vision but still require the space to acoustically function as a higher-end auditorium.

‘As with most similar projects, there needed to be a skilful compromise, and it’s our job to identify the best compromise. It’s about getting a blend of both: beautiful, creative design while achieving a great acoustic outcome. We were conscious of trying to realise the vision of the interior designer without too much compromise, but still provide a space that sounds great for students, staff, family and community members,’ said Darren Jurevicius, Director of Market Leadership, who led this acoustic design for the project.

It required a lot of clever architectural acoustics principles in the partition systems that incorporated a strategic blend of sound reflection, absorption, and diffusion in the design. Essentially, to control sound effectively for the audience to have an enjoyable experience and focus on the performance or teaching.

acoustic design adelaide‘The clever thing about the design— really driven by the interior designer/architect— was the plasterboard used as the partition face, which actually had lots of different sized holes in it, to look like planets and stars. It was an incredible design feature that looks special. The whole wall is essentially painted black, and behind these varying sized holes, there is white scrim material. Behind the scrim, we incorporated varying wall sections: some reflective and other parts are hollow, such that the cavity improves the sound absorption at specific frequencies,’ said Darren.



There is lots of timber work of different sizes to provide additional sound diffusion while being an interior design feature within the auditorium. Quadratic diffuser panels were also incorporated into the performance space to diffuse the reflected sound further while preserving the required reverberation.

‘The planetarium, which features a monolithic dome ceiling to project the night sky, reflects most sound through the focal point creating an awe-inspiring acoustical experience and feature. It is hoped that it may also help raise awareness of the field of acoustics as part of STEM learning,’ said Darren.

acoustic design school

Given the complexity of the behind-the-scenes acoustic design, the construction of the performing arts facility required much more attention to detail than a typical school project. ‘While not without challenges, the builder Marshall & Brougham executed well,’ said Darren.

‘Communication was the key in this project— right from the get-go. The key to successful projects like this is always a conversation to ensure the design team are all on the same page. In this case, there was a level of slight paranoia from both the architect and us to ensure everyone understood the acoustic design,’ stated Darren.

We are pleased to have been a part of this project working with Totalspace Design, the wider design team, and proud of the outcome constructed by Marshall & Brougham.

If you have a unique project, call us to discuss your acoustic design options.


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