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Sto Puts On A Strong Performance For Major Theatre Refurbishment Project

Royal Theatre York Foyer Show image in its full size

The foyer of York Theatre Royal displaying the Sto Acoustic system - photo credit to David Williamson

An acoustic treatment solution from Sto has been used on a major £4.1m theatre refurbishment project in Yorkshire. A StoSilent panel seamless acoustic ceiling system was used to dramatically improve the acoustics in the foyer of York Theatre Royal, and to enhance the acoustic environment in the adjoining theatre spaces.

“The main foyer is a mid-20th Century addition to the building,” comments Byron Harrison of Acoustic and Theatre Consultancy Charcoalblue, which designed the new acoustic solution. “It’s a busy multi-storey space, primarily of stone and glasswork. As it is a listed building, there was not an opportunity to integrate new sound absorbing finishes. However, modifications to the Theatre Royal and colonnade provided expanded foyer space near the main theatre entrance. We knew that this area needed to be well-controlled acoustically to deal with the build-up of sound, as well as sound transferring from the larger adjacent acoustic volume. We were looking for an acoustic solution that would allow us to create a sweeping, seamless ceiling finish that reflected some of the large areas of plasterwork which existed in the foyer and also expressed the form of the seating above.”

The StoSilent panel system that was used features 96% recycled glass boards which provide a high-level acoustic performance. In the case of the York Theatre Royal, these were suspended from an SC 400 braced steel grid, and finished with a StoSilent Décor M coating. This spray-applied, sound-permeable layer provides a decorative but practical top coat which enhances the dramatic appearance of the new foyer.

The nature of the existing building posed many challenges to the actual installation process, as Darryl Wright, Contracts Manager for Titan Interior Solutions explains. “The building is a real patchwork of previous structures, and so the foyer area presented us with all sorts of unusual angles and dimensions to work with. We also had to accommodate various existing building services, so this was far removed from any sort of standard installation procedure. We had to do a great deal of cutting and customizing on site, often making up sub-assemblies at ground level and then lifting them into place for installation.”

“It’s a testament to our StoSilent panel system that it can accommodate a project such as this where there are no straight lines or easy angles, and yet still create a seamless finish that looks as good as this one does,” comments Mike Wallace, Sto’s Technical Consultant for Acoustics. “The foyer ceiling actually curves in two different planes and so the system had to be able to adapt and be adjusted to suit the conditions.”

“The end result was very successful indeed,” concludes Byron Harrison. “The extended new box office and bar areas are very well controlled and noise transfer to the auditorium has been improved. The reverberation time in the new foyer is just 0.6 of a second. That makes a huge contribution towards limiting the noise in the foyer and making it a much more comfortable space for the theatre staff and visitors.”

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