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We’ve been talking to a diverse range of Australian architects and acoustic consultants about their clients’ requirements for ceiling systems.
National Architectural & Specifications Manager Tyrone Peck summarises what they’ve told his team, including their initial impressions of Ensemble™.
We’ve been laying the preparations for the launch of an innovative new addition to our Australian range of ceiling products for over two years.
Ensemble™ is a multi-component monolithic acoustical ceiling system with a unique difference in the global marketplace: it is significantly faster and easier to install, which makes it an exceptionally cost-effective solution for commercial, educational and public projects – or any open space where acoustics are critical.
With Ensemble now installed in the heritage atrium of the National Trust-listed office building, Chancery House in Perth, I thought it useful to share some of the findings of our extensive research into the needs of Australian architects, acoustic consultants and their clients.
The architects we spoke with overwhelmingly want a flat smooth finish – with either minimum joints or, preferably, none at all. Ceiling solutions could include tiles, but with set plaster to achieve a clean ‘plasterboard’ finish.
Acoustic consultants said that, in their experience, ceiling solutions are driven by architects in terms of certain aesthetics – and flat surface finishes, rather than grid-and-tile, are more desirable.
While it depends on the purpose of the building, all of the architects and acoustic consultants we surveyed said acoustics are ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important to them and their clients.
WHAT ACOUSTICAL PERFORMANCE DO YOU TYPICALLY RECOMMEND AND SPECIFY?
Some architects we spoke with defer this decision to acoustic engineers, but the most-desired acoustic measurement – when it really matters – is a Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) 0.70 or above.
The Ensemble system is rated higher, at 0.80 NRC, which means it does not reflect 80% of sound energy – plus its Ceiling Attenuation Class (CAC) rating of 0.50 means it is also effective at blocking noise transmission down from the ceiling plenum.
WHAT IS YOUR INITIAL IMPRESSION OF ENSEMBLE?
Everyone we showed Ensemble to was impressed with its monolithic concept. Apparently, there’s a real demand for this sort of system because it’s just what clients want – the elimination of joints – and the smoother the finish, the better.
One architect specifically noted Ensemble’s speed of installation and consequent cost reduction. An acoustic consultant said he’d been looking for a monolithic acoustic system just like Ensemble for specific building purposes.
WHAT TYPES OF PROJECTS WOULD ENSEMBLE BEST SUIT?
This is where imagination took flight… Architects and acoustic consultants we spoke with immediately envisaged using Ensemble in projects they typically work on, with many naming specific upcoming projects. Projects cited were mostly commercial, educational or public spaces.
· Office applications included reception areas, open plan seating, common areas, meeting and board rooms.
· The range of educational projects mentioned ranged from childcare and youth centres to classrooms, open learning areas and lecture theatres.
· Other ideal uses mentioned ranged across projects where acoustics are of the utmost importance – from large open spaces in residential projects to gymnasiums, function halls, galleries, clubs and even a television recording studio!
· Atrium spaces in retail, hotel and office developments were also mentioned by multiple architects as an ideal application for a monolithic acoustic ceiling system like Ensemble.
For more information on the USG Boral Ensemble Acoustical Ceiling System, including videos, case studies, installation guides and product specifications, visit usgboral.com/en_au/ensemble
About the Author
Tyrone Peck is USG Boral’s National Architectural & Specifications Manager – leading a team of professionals working with architects, interior designers and building professionals to help them achieve their design visions with innovative construction technologies.