A new office development for the Waters Corporation created a global, high-technology headquarters for the organisation. The site, located 13 miles south of Manchester in Wilmslow, brought together Waters’ mass spectrometry centres, consisting of more than 500 employees, under one roof
The 2,313m² building includes state of the art customer demonstration laboratories, conference and meeting area, research and development facilities and manufacturing capacity. Staff facilities on-site include a restaurant and gym. The facility was specially designed to enhance collaboration and drive innovation with a large central atrium street and extensive use of open-plan working.
Sandy Brown was engaged from the early design stages to completion to provide design advice on all architectural acoustics elements. During the design, auralisation of proposed acoustic standards was used to assist the client with defining requirements. Acoustic testing of mock-up meeting rooms was carried out during the construction phase to assess detailing and workmanship on site prior to completion.
Special acoustic features
Mass spectrometry is used to identify and quantify chemical components in complex mixtures. It’s a sensitive analytical technique that enables scientists to measure components or contaminants present at levels below a millionth of a gram. The new facility for Waters was specially designed to enhance collaboration and drive innovation and, to support this, the design focussed on a large central atrium street with extensive use of open-plan working.
The main acoustic issue was to limit the noise transfer from the atrium reception and the circulation spaces to the open plan offices that are located on the first floor.
Using room acoustic modelling, we were able to develop wireframe images that demonstrated sound transfer in different acoustic scenarios. This meant we could work collaboratively with the interior designers and architects to specify appropriate finishes in these important areas. Bespoke slatted timber finishes were chosen with proprietary perforated plasterboard in the atrium to control reverberation and noise transfer. Combinations of sound absorbent rafts and suspended ceilings were used in office and meeting areas and sound absorbent baffles were added in the restaurant.
Noise control from bespoke testing equipment was also a key consideration. Sample test measurements were carried out in existing test facilities and the results were used to provide acoustic solutions using bespoke sound insulating cabinets, screening and sound absorbent finishes for new test areas.