Aspire is a national charity that provides help to people who have been paralysed by a spinal cord injury. Through their projects and programmes they are able to offer support to over 40,000 people in the UK who have suffered a spinal cord injury and support them to lead independent lives.
The Aspire leisure centre provides training and rehabilitation facilities that have been made fully accessible to users with mobility, hearing or visual impairments.In line with the charity’s vision of promoting integration between disabled and non-disabled users, the centre is fully open to both.
Facilities at the centre include a 25 metre swimming pool, a fully integrated fitness studio, sports hall, dance studio and an on-site café.
Sandy Brown Associates was engaged by the architect to provide acoustic advice on the base building and the enhancements related to performance and acoustic quality. Our advice included:
• optimising the sound insulation of proposed structures
• acoustic finishes
• control of activity noise
• speech intelligibility
Special acoustic features
For the design of the pool area there were two main acoustic aspects to consider. These were the noise generated by activities taking place within the pool area and speech intelligibility over distances of more than a few metres. Incorporating sound absorbent finishes to the ceiling and on the walls at high level helped us to reduce the amount of reverberation in the pool. This reduces noise from activities and in turn makes it easier to communicate.
Sound insulation of the dance studio was also an important consideration in order to mitigate potential disturbance in relation to breakout from amplified music. This required consideration of enclosing walls and doors as well as careful detailing.
Working to a tight budget for this project meant that alternative solutions were recommended in a number of areas. This included using stretched fabric panels alongside other more effective sound absorptive treatments to reduce the reliance on more effective yet more costly materials.