The University of Kent
This project was based in the Historic Dockyard at Chatham. The brief was simple. The studio design project consisted of two key areas that needed to fulfil one simple request from Professor Howle: ‘To be among the best in the university sector in the UK’. The first was a suite of six recording spaces housed in the Fire Station. The second, a 5.1 control room and live space housed in the nearby Foundry.
There were many challenges working in listed buildings, with very strict requirements for the external finishes particularly. The architects Purcell UK are experts in this field. We worked hand in hand with them to create acoustically high spec rooms with a unified visual aesthetic.
The 5 ground floor rooms (3 in the Fire Station and 2 in the Foundry)all use a room within a room construction, with the inner rooms floating on a 100mm concrete jacked up floor, giving isolation down to below 4Hz.The walls are dense concrete block and the isolation is extremely good. The ventilation system is silent.
In the Fire Station Ground Floor, there was a large multi channel room where research into ambisonic and other multi channels modes of reproduction will be taking place, and a Foley recording space, complete with large pit, and its associated Control Room.
The upstairs rooms are of a plasterboard construction with floating floors mounted on calibrated mounts to ensure excellent isolation. Even drummers can't be heard!
In the Foundry, the Live room included a booth (named during the build as the 'Love Booth'due to a typing error, possibly brought on by the shag pile carpet used on the floor!). On the ceiling we used our DACS designed perspex diffusers to retain the liveliness and prevent flutter echo.
The Control Room has its 5.1 Genelec 1037 system hidden behind the cloth, creating a very cinematic image with no sense of speaker positioning. The large size of the space makes the bass response of the room exceptionally good. The triple glazed windows give a good view through into the Live room and the Love Booth.
We were also responsible for designing and installing the audio wiring system in both the Foundry and the Fire Station. This included multiple microphone patching panels, a machine room with interlinking panels and 12 rows of PO patch bays in the control room to link into the SSL Matrix console.