The National Robotarium

Date Complete 2022
Location UK Scotland
Client Heriot-Watt University
Architect Michael Laird Architects

Project summary

Sandy Brown was appointed in 2019 to provide acoustic design advice for the National Robotarium at Heriot-Watt University’s Riccarton campus. The building provides a new innovation hub for robotics and autonomous systems and includes flexible labs, workspace, office deskspace/hot desks and a central forum.

We were appointed towards the end of RIBA Stage 3 and we reviewed the design proposals and prepared an acoustic design report for the scheme. This set out proposed acoustic standards, provided a review of the architect’s drawings and outline specifications, and provided recommendations as appropriate. During the RIBA Stage 4 detailed design stage we reviewed the final proposals and advised on key acoustic performance requirements.

We also undertook a review of the mechanical services design and advised on attenuator performance requirements for system and atmospheric side attenuators, as well as cross talk attenuators in ductwork to maintain room to room sound insulation.

The key space is the central forum, which is a double-height space which is open to other areas to provide connectivity and allow collaboration. The space is used for a variety of events such as meetings and lectures and it has a central staircase from ground to first floor which serves as raked seating. The acoustic quality of the space is achieved by a combination of sound absorbent finishes to control reverberation. The ceilings between the exposed steel structure are sound absorbing and the solid balustrades around the first floor opening to the space comprise an absorbent slatted timber finish on the forum facing side.