Aiming high towards better acoustics

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The Massey University Flight Operations Center is the main base for the Bachelor of Aviation program in New Zealand. Established in 1987 to meet airline requirements for graduates with a wide industry perspective, the school offers New Zealand’s only Aviation degree. A brand new 2,200m2 / 23,681sqft training center was recently completed by Colspec Construction, offering a state-of-the-art space to support the growing number of students admitted to the school.

Palmerston North Airport chief executive David Lanham says the new development will support the school’s reputation as being a world-class aviation training program. “The new $5m facility will assist the school to further promote its capabilities to an international audience. The timing is perfect as the demand for pilot and aviation management training continues to grow.”

Glen Hamilton from Nexus architecture – understanding the importance of adaptive learning – designed the central, open-plan communal space for students to gather and collaborate. However, as with all large share spaces, the acoustic concerns needed to be addressed. In this case, the floor provided the perfect opportunity for acoustic treatment. Acoufelt’s range of acoustic carpet tiles provided a smart alternative to traditional floor coverings, also complementing the vibrant furnishings of the interior. The ‘Flinders’ collection in colorway ‘Ikara Place’ was selected for its seamless pattern and neutral textures, installed in a monolithic pattern throughout the open area. Boasting an NRC 0.35, this carpet tile was able to provide excellent acoustic performance in this spacious open-plan environment.

Acoufelt applied its Acoustic FWC™ philosophy in order to identify the most cost-effective way of addressing acoustic design in the tasting room. The Acoustic FWC™ philosophy looks at all spaces as a box with six potential surfaces, one floor, four walls and a ceiling, for absorbing unwanted noise. Usually the most cost-effective surface for absorbing noise is the floor, which can be applied with QuietBack™ acoustic carpet tiles. However, because the new facility had a number of areas designed to have a seamless integration of internal and external areas, carpeting the interior areas would create a virtual boundary that would work against the seamless transition in the design.

The next step was to consider the walls. Although many of the walls had been converted to sliding glass doors and hatches, there was a large feature wall originally designed to be covered with wine-stained oak barrel staves recovered from the wine making process. The architect and the client considered replacing the wood feature wall with Acoufelt’s WoodBeQuiet™ product. WoodBeQuiet™ removes the compromise between acoustics and aesthetics; allowing for design that caters to the ears as well as the eyes. Through the Acoufelt QuietPrint™ capability, the surface fibers of each acoustic plank are colored with precision, ensuring air-gaps in the porous material remain open to absorbing noise. In effect, we have a surface with the warmth and beauty of wood, yet it is quiet.

This is where integrity became an issue. For the sake of acoustic design, DOWIE DOOLE initially considered removing genuine oak staves used in the wine making process and replacing them with an optical illusion. Chris Thomas asked Acoufelt if there was an alternative. Thankfully, Acoufelt has a solution for “all six sides of the box” and the ceiling provided the answer.

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