The Nucleus building, The University of Edinburgh

Date Complete 2023
Location UK Scotland
Client The University of Edinburgh
Architect Sheppard Robson

Project summary

The Nucleus building lies at the heart of The University of Edinburgh’s King’s Building Campus and provides shared learning, teaching, and social facilities.

At the core of the building is six lecture theatres of various sizes with a range of flexible seating arrangements. The building also contains studio classrooms, study spaces, a chemistry teaching laboratory, careers services, and a cafe.

Sandy Brown advised on the acoustic design from RIBA Stage 2 through to completion.

Detailed design

We advised on the sound insulation requirements of partitions and floors, including between the noise-sensitive, vertically stacked lecture theatres, and between the chemistry laboratory and large 400-seat lecture space below.

Some of the lecture theatres feature flexible, collaborative seating arrangements, allowing for group work. All spaces contain audio visual presentation equipment. We advised on reverberation time criteria for each lecture theatre to provide good speech intelligibility and audio clarity. We produced 3D Odeon computer acoustic models of all six spaces and used these to advise on the provision of sound absorbing and sound reflecting room surfaces, including the locations, geometries, and specifications. The models were then used to optimise and “tune” the treatment to each space.

Advice was given on the routing of building services systems, the control of external noise from plant areas, and control of ventilation system noise through the use of in-duct attenuators, and the careful control of air velocities, particularly in the low noise environment lecture theatres.