Based in the centre of Leeds, this £80 million development will become a new hub for creative education at Leeds Beckett University. Designed to house 1850 students from various courses all under one roof, this impressive space has dedicated studios for fashion, music and performing arts, a 184-seat performance theatrea 220-seat Dolby Atmos movie cinema, state-of-the-art TV and film studios, a black box studio, a green screen studio, a stop motion studio, foley studios, dubbing and music recording studios, acoustic labs and a host of post-production suites.  

Husht Acoustics were brought in to ensure that this 9-storey development is ready for staff and students to return to University by installing acoustic treatment throughout.  

The Problem

A new building requires extensive fit-out to ensure that it is fit for purpose. With many design elements such as open spacesglass partitions and a large atrium posing significant challenges to the acoustics, it is important that the right acoustic treatments are used based on the intended use of the space.  

In education spaces it is incredibly important that students and teachers are well-heard, with acoustics and classroom design playing a vital role in the learning experience. Acoustic treatment can transform classrooms into a place where education is optimised so students are able to learn the best way they can. 

More so, acoustics in the new Leeds Beckett University building are at the forefront of design because of the activities and performances due to take place there. Bespoke TV and film studios, foley studios and numerous other facilities require perfect sound. Perfect sound not only comes from good quality audio and visual equipment but great acoustics too! 

Our Solution

A wide variety of acoustic products and solutions were chosen to ensure this impressive building is ready for students and staff to use the many facilities available.  

Normally an essential component to new buildings and retrofits is a suspended ceiling complete with ceiling tiles – they hide any electrical work and HVAC systems while offering a clean, smooth ceiling. However, due to the beautiful industrial grey and timber aesthetic achieved by George Downing Construction and Hawkins\Brown, an exposed ceiling was used instead! An exposed ceiling comes with acoustical challenges, therefore throughout the building, many acoustic solutions were used to combat this. 

Throughout a large majority of the building, we installed a total of 3,698 Class A sound absorbing MuffleRafts and MuffleBaffles – these can be seen in some of the larger open spaces as well as the corridors. These rafts are designed to absorb sound from the front and back surfaces which enables us to achieve the highest performance of sound absorption. These rafts combined with beautiful lighting fixtures create an artistic flair, which is all too fitting for the Creative Arts building.  

As seen in the TV studios and many other spaces throughout the building, we installed Autex Quietspace to the walls; this was a versatile fabric wrapped solution covered in 100% Autex Vertiface fabric. Not only are acoustics and sound quality important in film and TV studios, but lighting too – therefore black fabric was chosen as this ensures the least amount of light bounces off, giving the highest level of lighting control for production teams. 

As well as Autex Quietspace, various other wall solutions were installed to give the best sound quality and ensure that students and teachers can hear one another. We also used products such as Muffle Pinboards, which not only offer sound absorption, but a place to display important notices and information to students and faculty around the buildingThese pinboards are ideal for absorbing speech level frequencies, thus improving speech clarity. 

One of the most impressive parts of the new Leeds Beckett building is the atrium. With open spaces, conversation dens and an incredible view of the first 5 floors, there are a lot of acoustical challenges posed by large atriums like this. Although beautifully finished with plenty of sound absorbing soft furnishings, sound can still reflect off the walls, floors and windows, creating high reverberation which requires acoustic treatment. Similarly to the classrooms and corridor spaces, we installed MuffleBaffles amongst the lighting fixtures to create an atrium that can be used by all!  

As we move from the classrooms, corridors and atrium, the final space Husht Acoustics were involved in transforming is the theatre. This 184-seat performance theatre is an impressive space that will hopefully see many performances over the years to come! We installed an intricate Stil Acoustics Timber system to the walls, carefully cut to house custom electrical and lighting controls. This system not only looks great, it offers great sound absorption to ensure that future performances are well heard by everyone, even those sat towards the back!    

The Result

A beautiful and multifunctional space where education is optimised so students are able to learn the best way they can. Each classroom is specifically designed for the task at hand, whether it be fashion marketing, sound editing or performance – the acoustics are optimised to create the perfect space for all.  

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