Architectural & Building Acoustics

Specific acoustical needs vary from building to building and Wilkinson Murray's expertise will help enhance or optimise acoustical conditions within the building, depending upon the external environment.

Working with project developers, architects, engineers and others, Wilkinson Murray has been involved in the acoustical design and development of a number of novel methods of acoustical control for:

  • museum and exhibition spaces
  • theatres and auditoria
  • law court buildings
  • film, TV and sound studios
  • hotel and conference facilities
  • offices and commercial premises
  • residential buildings
Wilkinson Murray is currently the acoustic consultant for the Central Government Complex at Tamar in Hong Kong. This complex includes all legislative, executive, and high level administrative facilities for the government. The most challenging space is the Legislative Council Chamber which is being designed as a cylindrical space.

Tamar Government Offices


Wilkinson Murray is the acoustic consultant for this major building development in Hong Kong. The building has been designed and construction is near complete so that the development will provide accommodation for the upper echelons of the Hong Kong SAR government. There are three separate buildings to the project:

  • LegCo Building – this building will house facilities for the Legislative Council Members, including the LegCo Chamber, several large public conference rooms and LegCo Member’s offices;
  • CGC Low Block – this block will house the executive part of government, including a suite for the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, the ExCo Chamber and large conference rooms; and
  • CGC Office Block – this large office block will house the headquarters of all Hong Kong departments, including the Chief Secretary and the Financial Secretary.

It will also house many public conference rooms and the multi-purpose hall.

Wilkinson Murray has provided acoustic design services, has assisted during the construction stage and is in the process of carrying out final commissioning tests.

Foxtel Studios


New premises have recently been constructed for Foxtel and Sky News in Sydney. An existing building was fitted out to contain a series of edit booths, voice-over booths and production control rooms. In addition, a new building was constructed to house a number of production studios, particularly for Sky News.

Wilkinson Murray was responsible for the acoustic design, including sound isolation between spaces and the internal acoustics. To provide the required isolation, floating constructions were used in some parts of the development and a number of different standards of floating construction were developed for the project.

The Epping to Chatswood Rail Line was planned to run close to the development and an analysis of vibration from the operation of trains was also carried out.

Forum St Leonards

Forum St Leonards

THE FORUM, St Leonards

The Forum complex included a new railway station, a central plaza with retail on two levels, three separate commercial buildings, two residential towers which incorporated swimming pools, gymnasiums and child care and up to nine levels of basement car parking. The project was delivered in two stages by different builders:

  • Walter Construction Group (Forum East); and
  • Bovis Lend Lease (Forum West)

Wilkinson Murray was involved from the beginning of the project, advising at the DA and BA design development and documentation stages, and throughout construction and commissioning.

In addition to traffic noise from the Pacific Highway and airborne railway noise, the main issue was the consideration of railway vibration and structure-borne noise. A design incorporating acoustic isolation using bearing pads and acoustic separation between the basement carpark levels and the surrounding ground was employed.

Wilkinson Murray was extensively involved in the decision making regarding acoustic performance, buildability, risk, maintenance and cost. At the completion of the project extensive compliance testing has been conducted. This included aspects of rail vibration and structure-borne noise, rail and traffic noise, Building Code of Australia requirements and mechanical plant noise. The measurement results obtained verified that the acoustic design, in all aspects of the project, achieved the design requirements. The results are particularly pleasing since in every area the results agree well with the predicted levels, indicating the design was optimised and cost effective.

Darling Walk



The Darling Walk project has involved the demolition of the two-storey former SEGA complex and the construction of two nine-storey buildings, plus four basement levels. The completed project will feature more than 55,000 square metres of office space along with pedestrian links, public areas and a rejuvenated retail precinct.

Wilkinson Murray has advised on the following aspects of the acoustic design:

  • Façade construction
  • Basement and office level plantroom isolation
  • Mechanical services noise and vibration
  • Hydraulic services noise
  • Open-plan office acoustics
  • Atriums
  • Children’s theatre

A feature of the design was the use of Passive Chilled Beams. The lack of ambient noise from air-conditioning meant that many areas, particularly open plan offices and atriums, required the specification of sound masking to maintain adequate acoustic privacy.

Capitol Theatre


The refurbishment of the art deco Capitol Theatre in Sydney involved substantial changes and an extension to the Theatre. The space was successfully designed to provide good acoustics for musical productions and opera including reduction of ground borne rail noise.

The innovative methods (acknowledged by other acoustical consultants) used for the control of noise from the air-conditioning system to the Theatre contributed to the contractor receiving an Australia-wide Excellence in Engineering award.

Conservatorium of music


Large parts of this development housed noise sensitive spaces which were located close to Sydney’s underground rail system. Large sections of the building were constructed on rubber pads to reduce ground borne noise from the passing of trains and the two recital halls were separately supported on steel springs to provide even lower internal ground borne noise levels.

Compliance measurements after completion indicated that the ground borne noise design objectives were achieved by the Wilkinson Murray design.

Channel 10


Wilkinson Murray was commissioned to provide an acoustical design for the Channel 10 fit out which would result in a high level of acoustic quality within a relatively restrictive budget.

Whilst the main TV studio was designed using a floating structure with extensive internal finishes, the edit suites, voiceover booths and audio mixing rooms were designed with budget in mind. Simple semi-floating floors were used, avoiding the need for slab set downs and minimising costs. The design has proved successful for this commercial operation.

state library victoria


The architects on this project, Ancher Mortlock & Woolley, were awarded the prestigious John George Knight Award for Heritage Architecture. Wilkinson Murray worked together with the architects on this project for 15 years.

The most interesting challenge was to provide a realistic level of acoustic environment in the magnificent domed Reading Room. This had to be achieved within the constraints of the heritage requirements. In addition, it was necessary to ensure that the air-conditioning noise in the Reading Room was of a realistic noise level both on the floor of the room and on the balconies.

Wilkinson Murray also gave advice on the various other buildings associated with the main Reading Room, including refurbishment of galleries used for the temporary housing of the Victorian Art Gallery exhibitions, and their return to other library functions. This was an interesting and rewarding project throughout.

woolworths sydney


Woolworths Limited corporate offices presented the ultimate acoustical challenge. Each of four buildings has a central atrium and all the buildings are connected by an enclosed central street. Numerous additional facilities and meeting rooms also had to be incorporated.

This was new territory for Wilkinson Murray, so a review of all atria in Sydney was undertaken to ascertain if the concept could be practically handled. The key to this successful development was a high level of direct communication, with Wilkinson Murray providing constant input describing the acoustic implications of design options.

The centrepiece of the development, the central street, is a vibrant acoustic space without undesirable acoustic defects such as reflections or excessive reverberation. Presentations and open forums can be held in this space as it maintains good speech intelligibility throughout. Each office floor achieves noticeable acoustic separation from the adjacent atrium and central street. The client is very happy with the innovative result having achieved their acoustic design goals.





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