The Manchester Civil Justice Centre is the largest project of its type since the Royal Courts of Justice were built in London in 1870. Located in the Spinningfields district of Manchester, it contains 47 law courts in an innovative 13-storey building with an 11-storey atrium.
On the western façade is a 60 metre by 60 metre suspended glass wall which is the largest in Europe. The building is built to BREEAM Excellent standards and has been recognised with a number of awards. These include a RIBA National and Regional (North West) Award, National Constructing Excellence 2008, Architecture Grand Prix Gold Award – Rose Design Awards 2007 and Major Project of the Year – Green Construction Awards 2007. It was also shortlisted for the RIBA Stirling Prize 2008.
Sandy Brown was appointed as building acoustic consultants on this prestigious project. Our full acoustic strategy included advice on a variety of design intricacies which included:
• surveys and planning
• sound insulation
• room acoustics
• building services noise control
Special acoustic features
As part of a mixed-mode ventilation strategy, the design included large natural ventilation ducts to supply fresh air throughout the working areas of the building. One of the key design objectives was to ensure that sound transmission through these ducts did not undermine acoustic integrity between rooms.
The building is located on a busy city centre site. The level of noise break-in from external sources, when the building is operating in natural ventilation mode was controlled by bespoke attenuators within the façade. The subjective change in noise levels when switching between natural and mechanical ventilation was also an important consideration for our acoustic strategy.