Sound Space Vision (SSV) has consulted architects, MUMA, to provide an innovative community space for Storey’s Field Centre at Eddington, on the University of Cambridge’s North West Cambridge Development.
The Centre is a civic building in the heart of the new development and encompasses meeting rooms and a large multi-purpose hall for exercise classes, lectures, music of all genres, local festivities and events alongside a nursery.
SSV joined the project to support the range of uses both in the acoustical design and the noise isolation and the activity-led design and specification of the technical fit-out of the building.
Given the hall’s rectangular shape and the Centre’s mandate for a varied and active schedule, SSV envisioned a space that was adaptable, flexible, and, crucially, easy to operate by its users. It is a stylish, light-filled, three-storey space with refined acoustics and production fittings and fixtures that are well detailed, discreet, adaptable and hidden within the architecture.
SSV began with the staging potential by specifying technical and production equipment as well as adaptable acoustics to facilitate multiple seating and staging formations. A combination of LED and tungsten lighting was chosen to provide lighting angles for any stage configuration, and is integrated on motorised bars, which also include house lights and moving lights for special events.
From a production design standpoint, the hall’s neutral colour palette is easily transformed by coloured and varied lighting.
The main hall benefits from individually sized acoustic banners created for SSV by a specialist manufacturer, and a one-of-a-kind solution for opening and closing them allows the bottom third banners to move up, and the upper third to move down. The large projector is hidden on a small lift that vanishes into the ceiling when not in use.
The University’s brief for the Centre included high performance qualities for the main hall, with a requirement for the acoustics to accommodate a variety of events from chamber music to rock concerts. SSV designed a space with an acoustic flexibility that spans every requirement from very dry, clear sound to live, resonant acoustics, with architectural and design features that double as sound dispersive, absorptive or isolation solutions. For amplification, SSV chose to use three beam-steering column array loudspeakers, which have substantial output over a wide frequency range, and are ideal for a space of this scale.