MediaCityUK, located in Salford Quays, Greater Manchester, is home to the largest high definition studio facilities in Europe.
The studio block includes seven high definition television studios, two audio studios – one of which is dedicated to the BBC’s Philharmonic Orchestra – and a technical block that contains fully equipped sound and vision control rooms, core post facilities, a central technical area, dressing rooms, make-up rooms, workshops and green rooms. There is also a second major audio studio with variable acoustics for radio programming.
Sandy Brown was appointed to provide acoustic advice on the design of the Studio Block, attached hotel / residential towers and MEC post-production offices. The full acoustic design included the following key issues:
• internal and external noise criteria
• sound insulation
• acoustic finishes.
Special acoustic features
Specific design intricacies bespoke to the needs of the development included meeting BBC target performance criteria. These performance standards involve reverberation time requirements at each 1/3 octave band and so the studios were ‘tuned’ through on-site testing. This included commissioning tests with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.
Detailed 3D modelling was used to determine the acoustic finishes required for each of the studio spaces. The Philharmonic and multi-purpose studios incorporated variable acoustic treatments so that they would be able to accommodate a range of different reverberant conditions, while masonry box-in-box constructions were used in the TV and Philharmonic studios. The benefit of this construction was that it enables a high level of sound insulation to be provided at low frequencies.
Floating floors were incorporated into the design for noise sensitive areas to combat horizontal airborne sound transmission, structure borne noise intrusion, structure borne noise and vertical airborne sound transmission / impact sound transmission. In addition, box-in-box lids were used on ceilings for the studios to meet the required high standard for vertical sound insulation.