The need for carefully designed and balanced acoustics within a vast open space has led to an acoustic system from Sto being specified for a major automotive research and development centre in the Midlands. The StoSilent Distance system has been installed at the new Prof. Lord Bhattacharyya Building, home of the National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC), on the University of Warwick campus.

The NAIC is a unique research and development facility where academic and industrial teams work together to develop the future of transport. “The architects – Cullinan Studio – wanted to encourage people to come together for research, demonstrations, meetings and breakout sessions, so acoustics were a key consideration within this multiple-use building”, explains Sto Technical Consultant for Acoustics, James Gosling.

“It was especially important in the large, open atrium area which forms the centrepiece of the building. This was designed to be a flexible space, and so it was a requirement to correctly balance the challenges of attenuation, reverberation, speech intelligibility and foot traffic. The aim was to create an acoustic environment that was reliable and practical, while also achieving a very distinctive design aesthetic.”

Over 2,000m2 of the StoSilent Distance system was installed around the curving balustrades and street level ceilings which feature in the multi-level atrium area. “This appeared at first glance to be a challenging project as the curves and angles involved were quite specific and demanding, but Sto were always on hand to help out,” explains Leigh Reading of CG Reynolds, a Sto-authorised acoustic installer for the Sto system. “They provided bespoke training for our ceiling fixers, and made a number of site visits during the installation to provide support. The StoSilent Distance system proved to be extremely flexible, and Sto were never more than a phone call away if we required any advice.”

The StoSilent Distance system includes the Sto minimal void SW150 metal profile sub-construction which can be installed and adjusted to suit a very wide variety of application requirements, thus providing a tremendous range of design possibilities. The acoustic boards are made from 96% recycled glass, making them lightweight and easy to install. They provide excellent acoustics, and aesthetically provide a modern, clean, monolithic appearance. The boards are fixed to the sub-construction, creating a seamless surface, appealing to both the architect and client and perfect for the type of dramatic architecture featured in the NAIC atrium.

The system was completed with the application of StoSilent Décor M. This spray-applied finish can be tinted to match an extensive range of shades from the StoColor system, allowing architects and designers to incorporate an acoustic solution which complements their visual design aesthetic.

StoSilent Décor M is easy to refurbish, and being both inert and Natureplus approved it is also environmentally friendly. This was a particularly appropriate consideration for this project, as the NAIC facility will be used to research technological advances that help the environment, such as reducing dependency on fossil fuels and reducing CO2 emissions.