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Winning streak

From sports arenas to public spaces, acoustic performance is what sets great buildings apart from ordinary ones.

The acoustical challenges of public facilities are made more difficult by size of the building and sheer number of people that use them. Place like airports, sports centres, swimming pools, hotel convention centres and recreation centres are often buzzing with swarms of people.

The acoustics must be able to facilitate large gatherings and create a comfortable atmosphere that fosters communications between visitors and enables speech intelligibility. The design of the sound is an integral part of the building’s design.

   Atlantic Swimming Pools  Union League Boys & Girls Clubs
   Radisson Blu Sochi Hotels  Meeting Square Bitswijk
  ROCKFON System OlympiaPlus 


      Dive in

      The branches of the ATLANTIC SWIMMING POOLS chain that recently opened in three districts in St. Petersburg are part of an ambitious expansion plan for the construction of 20 new swimming pools in St. Petersburg, Ufa and a number of other Russian cities. The centre combines  outstanding swimming facilities with fitness clubs, medical rooms, spa and beauty salons, sports stores and health food cafés to make exercise convenient and accessible to all  citizens. With a wide selection of special programs for seniors, athletes, future moms, people with disabilities, recreational exercisers and children, the Atlantic Pool offers classes for any need.

      Catering to such different target groups, the large multipurpose building had an obvious need for managing acoustics. To reduce noise and reverberation in the large pool areas, Chief Engineer of OOO Techglavstroy Contractors, Eugene G. Ostanin, prescribed several types of ROCKFON products for ceilings and walls. The suspended ceilings were equipped with a mix of ROCKFON Artic, ROCKFON Sonar, ROCKFON MediCare, ROCKFON Color-all and ROCKFON Boxer panels were used as for ceilings and as wall absorbers.

      “They have high performance characteristics
      and are available in a wide range of colours,
      which enabled us to find a harmonious blend of colours”

      Eugene G. Ostanin explains how the choice was both driven by technical and aesthetical needs: “The strict requirements to ventilation in swimming pools mean that suspended ceilings can become deformed or that the panels are simply blown away by the wind if they are only 7 or 8 mm thick. ROCKFON panels are 15 to 20 mm, they have high performance characteristics and are available in a wide range of colours, which enabled us to find a harmonious blend of colours for the ceilings, the wall panels and the tiles that are used in the pools,” he says.


        Too important to close down

        The UNION LEAGUE BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS plays a vital role in helping the children in the Pilsen neighbourhood of Chicago develop their academic and athletic skills, so closing down its facilities during its recent renovation was simply not an option. Instead, Antunovich Associates’ design and the Tandem Construction’s crew worked together to create a project plan that minimised disruption to club programming during the $4.2 million, 19-month renovation project to nearly double the facility’s original size. “We phased the project so that Club activities could continue in the original facility as the new addition was built and then move over to the new facility as the original building was renovated,” says Tandem vice president of construction, Tony Andrews.

        Sports are an important part of the club’s activities, so to meet the demanding requirements of Club One’s gymnasiums, ROCKFON recommended the ROCKFON Impact ceiling panel. These stone wool acoustic ceiling panels are used throughout Europe, but had not yet been introduced to the U.S. “The ROCKFON system was exactly what was needed for the Union League’s gymnasium. Without [their team], we wouldn’t have even known about it,” says Antunovich Associates’  project architect, Clark Christensen. “[They] went above and beyond to provide the best solution.”

        For Club One, the panels integrate with the Chicago Metallic suspension systems and ROCKFON Infinity Razor Edge Perimeter Trim to make the ceiling appear zero-depth. “In the renovated gym, the ceiling system didn’t diminish the overall height in a way that made it feel cramped. It left enough room for the electrical and sprinkler infrastructure, so we didn’t have to muck about above the existing ceiling. You also can tell it has better acoustics to reduce the sound of the kids running around. It’s a robust system with a high missile-impact rating so we know it can stand up to balls hitting it. When necessary, the panels can be replaced easily,” Christensen explains. Tandem’s project superintendent, Brian Curtin, adds, “Installing the very first high-impact grid in the U.S. has been a great experience and a neat thing to be a part of. We will see more and more of these ceilings suspending in gymnasiums throughout the country.”


          Accommodating every need

          Beyond only being establishments that provide lodging to travellers, hotels offer diverse services to guests and non-guests ranging from hospitality to wellness, retail, entertainment and conference halls, not to mention the technical support spaces. With this myriad of functions to accommodate, hotels become mini cities in themselves. This is the case for two prestigious new Radisson Blu Hotels built in Sochi, Russia for the Winter Olympics: RADISSON BLU RESORT & CONGRESS CENTER AND RADISSON BLU PARADISE & SPA SOCHI. Both contain approximately 500 rooms and accommodate some 750 guests.

          The Resort and Congress Centre specialises in hosting events while the Spa caters to wellbeing and recreation. Corresponding to the complexity of hotel functions and spaces is an equally complex selection of materials. For ceilings, this involves aesthetic, economic and technical considerations including fire safety, acoustics, health and moisture resistance. In hotels, where large numbers of people congregate, good acoustics are vital whether it’s in busy spaces like lobbies, restaurants and banquet halls, or quiet corridors and hotel rooms. In both  hotels, ceilings made from ROCKFON Sonar – around 4,000 m² in total – are used to help ensure optimal acoustic comfort. Besides noise generated by people, sound from technical services also need consideration. Alexei Blyznyuk, Chief Engineer from ZAO Hotel Development company, the general contractor explains: “Utilities for water supply and fire systems are located in the ceiling space of guest rooms and throughout the hotel in general. These systems generate some noise, so the acoustic properties played an important role in the selection of ROCKFON ceilings.”

          “We placed different samples into containers of water
          and compared the results”

          With Sochi’s location by the Black Sea, humidity was another important consideration for material selection. “We tested ceilings for moisture resistance and compared ROCKFON with products from other manufacturers,” Blyznyuk continues. “We placed different samples into containers of water and compared the results. The other ceilings disintegrated while the ROCKFON ceilings were totally unaffected.” Despite their large format (1800x300 mm and 1200x1200 mm), the panels retain their straightness and shape, which is a vital quality for the longevity and appearance of the hotels.


            A multifunctional solution

            Initiated by the Municipality of Uden, real estate management agent Zorg Brabant and the local housing association, MEETING SQUARE BITSWIJK in Uden, the Netherlands, is a multifunctional centre that combines education, child care, health care, sports facilities, offices and housing. DAT Tilburg architects designed the project to encourage interaction between residents, and offer users all the necessary facilities to stay longer in the area and not have to move when their circumstances change. The building has an open expression, where functions are organised around a common core, which includes an assembly hall, a playroom and workshop spaces.

            To accommodate all these different functions, the building needed a high-performance ceiling solution. “This building has a combination of functions, where the sports hall is surrounded by a school, assisted living facilities and a grand cafe. That meant that the acoustics had to be controlled very well, in particular in the ceilings,” explains GertJan de Rooij, project architect of DAT Tilburg. Having already worked with the product in other projects, DAT Tilburg decided that the acoustic ROCKFON Krios tiles were the ideal solution for balancing acoustics while supporting the natural air ventilation system in the school.

            In the sports hall, DAT Tilburg looked for a sturdy ceiling solution that would balance acoustics in the large room, but still hold up to stray balls. “Government regulations of acoustic requirements for sports halls are actually not very strict. However, in practice it is annoying if the acoustics are not properly thought through,” GertJan de Rooij explains. The solution became the ROCKFON OlympiaPlus system, which combines acoustic stone wool tiles with high impact resistance and easy demountability due to the Bandraster installation frame. “In Uden, the sports hall has a 7 meter high ceiling, which imposes additional requirements to mpact resistance. Replacing or straightening a plate is not a simple task,” he says.

            ROCKFON System OlympiaPlus

            Wilfried Stessel, ROCKFON
            Manager of Development
            of Grids and Accessories
            Wilfried Stessel, ROCKFON Manager of Development of Grids and Accessories ROCKFON OlympiaPlus is our high-impact resistance system, which was developed for exposed areas, such as sports halls and schools. Combining the hardy and aesthetically pleasing ROCKFON Boxer tiles with sturdy Bandraster frames, we wanted to create a system that could hold up to shocks and balls but was still demountable. Anyone who has ever changed a damaged tile under a high ceiling in a sports hall knows that what you want strong tiles that won’t easily break, and an installation frame that allows you to easily change a tile if it is damaged anyway. That thinking inspired us to alter the Bandraster frame to allow the tile to move slightly upwards to absorb blows, and to be demountable just by sliding the bayonet click connectors of the frame members from the Bandraster main runner slots.

            We developed the system in close cooperation between ROCKFON and Chicago Metallic, and when we launched the system in 2010, it was our first joint patent. In accordance with the EN13964 D Product Standard, the system can resist impact of 16.5 meters per second, which is the highest class of impact resistance.

            To this day, I still think we developed a unique system that is the best in its category. To architects, that means a highly competitive combination of aesthetics and the well-known acoustical benefits, fire protection and humidity resistance of stone wool. To installers, the benefits are quick installation, as the frames can be clicked in place without the use of tools once the main grid is installed, easy access to underlying applications and easy demountability.

              THE BEAUTY INSIDE

              Revealing the beauty inside renovations and new builds

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