Google’s office at 6 Pancras Square in London provides 350,000 sq feet of office accommodation over 11 floors.
Comprising office areas, a fully functional gym, restaurants, serveries, meeting rooms, along with highly sensitive spaces such as a Town Hall and provision of three state-of-the-art recording studios for YouTube and other social and relaxation space, the building is able to accommodate over 2,000 members of staff.
Famed for their progressive approach to office design, Google has included a number of unconventional amenities which including a 90 metre running track. There are also a number of large break out spaces.
To reflect the ever changing business requirements and team structures, the office also features more than 90 modular meeting rooms known as Jacks. While meeting the full acoustic requirements of a meeting room, each unit can be taken down and reassembled elsewhere in a matter of hours by the in-house FM team, allowing teams to have completely flexible workplace.
Built from wooden cassettes, Jacks can be configured in a number of ways to create differently sized, fully or partially enclosed spaces, leading to obvious challenges for the acoustic design which have been successfully overcome.
Sandy Brown was appointed to provide complete acoustic consultancy for the fit out of Google’s offices at 6 Pancras square. The principal acoustic requirements of the project included:
- achieving an appropriate level of airborne and impact sound insulation between spaces
- ensuring that reverberation within the open plan work place,
meeting room, Tech Talk and Town Hall areas did not significantly affect speech intelligibility or result in excessive noise build up in other areas such as the kitchen, restaurant, gym and library
- controlling noise from building services both internally and externally
- developing an acoustic strategy for the design of Jack meeting room pods
- providing high specification acoustic advice into the development of the YouTube studios.
Special acoustic features
The project involved incorporating a multitude of different uses into a speculative office building. Alongside office accommodation there is a fully equipped gym with spinning studio, a running track, movement studios and a number of restaurants, kitchens and serveries. To reduce noise transfer from the gym areas, floating concrete slabs and isolated ceilings were provided.
The design also required careful consideration of highly sensitive acoustic spaces such as the Town Hall and Tech Talks, not to mention the ground floor provision of three fully isolated, low noise, acoustically treated recording studios for YouTube.
High levels of airborne and impact sound insulation were targeted and achieved, along with low building services noise and well controlled reverberation across the frequency range to provide acoustic quality in key spaces.
Additional challenges included providing a suitable acoustic environment within open plan workplaces and busy café and serving areas following the removal of the Cat A sound absorbent ceiling to maintain architectural intent.
Unique to this project was the development of Jacks, which have been deployed as meeting rooms throughout 6 Pancras Square and, subsequently, in other Google offices across the globe.
Google’s sustainability targets meant that the inclusion of healthy materials into the design needed to be carefully considered.