The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama opened the latest phase of its redevelopment at the Swiss Cottage campus in early 2019, expanding a single-story site to twelve stories, two of which are positioned underground.
Founded in 1906 at the Royal Albert Hall, the School moved to the Embassy Theatre in 1956 and it is upon this historic site that it continues to grow, consolidating teaching,
rehearsal and performance space, including five new studios and a courtyard theatre.
The acoustic treatment has been described as “exceptional”, with soundproofing ensuring that there is no transference of noise between spaces. Acoustic attenuation is notably built into the structure, with double-skinned room-in-room construction applied to the stacked high-ceilinged studios.
While largely used as teaching spaces, the studios are, on occasion, used for rehearsals and performances involving higher levels of activity noise and/or amplified music. To reduce the airborne and impact sound, the acoustic design uses a reinforced concrete frame and floating concrete floors.
Additionally, the basement level television and radio recording /production suite incorporates independent walls and a resiliently hung sound insulating ceiling to create a fully isolated box-in-box construction.
As control of reverberation and noise build up was also an important consideration for the
studios, broadband sound absorbent soffit treatment and heavy wool serge curtains have also been included.
There are also relatively high levels of noise from the surrounding roads due to its busy urban location, albeit with quiet surroundings to neighbouring residences at the rear.
Key design items included the control of:
• noise ingress and egress
• vertical sound transmission
• broadband reverberation
• duct-borne noise and crosstalk from mechanical services