Transforming interior spaces with innovative acoustic solutions

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Specialty 
acoustic 
solutions

Architect: Jmid

Installer: Acous-Tek

Categories: Recording studios

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Jmid 
designed 
a 
high-performance 
broadcasting 
environment 
for 
Southern 
Cross 
Austereo 
Brisbane


High-performance acoustics for professional spaces

Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) is one of Australia’s leading media companies, reaching over 95% of the population through radio, television, and digital. Located in the thriving Petrie Terrace neighbourhood, SCA’s Brisbane office is home to popular audio brands Triple M, B105, and LiSTNR. After outgrowing their previous building in 2019, the media company decided to relocate their Queensland headquarters. Working with local creative design studio jmid, SCA was looking to build state-of-the-art radio facilities that would reflect the company’s innovative, creative culture. To guarantee the new space ticked all the boxes, the jmid team undertook an extensive workshopping process with each of SCA’s departments before entering the design process.

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Dubbed Audio HQ, the new office and studio spaces would rely heavily on acoustic treatment to create a world class broadcasting environment. As the lifeblood of SCA, the studios needed to meet strict acoustic requirements to ensure they would be fit for purpose, while the meeting rooms and open-plan office needed to facilitate collaboration and focused work. “In these open environments where we want to encourage a lot of interaction, noise control is the biggest concern. SCA’s workforce is energetic, and they play a lot of music during the day, which means they have many noise generators in that space. We had to make sure that the built form absorbed as much sound as possible so that those who needed to do focused work weren’t distracted by people who were being collaborative or having conversations nearby,” Jane McConnell of jmid explained.

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To achieve a high-performance acoustic environment in the studios, jmid specified Quietspace® Panel overlaid with Vertiface® with Etch™ detail for the walls. Broadcasting studios should be ‘dead’ acoustically, which means they should have a very short Reverberation Time. Quietspace Panel was ideal for the space as it’s designed to absorb a minimum of 85% of the sound energy it meets across the frequency spectrum, keeping the reverb time down. Using the Vertiface overlay, Jane brought her vision to life, “beyond the obvious acoustic benefits of the Quietspace Panel in the studio spaces, the Vertiface overlay was critical because we were able to customise the surface to something the client loved,” Jane said.

 

For the open-plan office space, Jane and her team drew inspiration from the local architecture. “The tenancy is located in a suburb full of original workers cottages reflective of traditional Queensland architecture. To emulate that vernacular, we wanted to pull the vertical joins texture into the space”. Jmid specified Cube in Acros, Savoye and Pinnacle customised with Groove to create the beadboard aesthetic, “It was easy with Cube panels,” Jane explained, “With Autex Acoustics, I can get great sound absorption and optimal sound control but still have incredible flexibility in terms of design solutions. It’s a rare balance”.


Graffiti artist Matt Stewart was commissioned to paint four murals for the space, two of which were painted on Cube panels direct fixed to concertina room-dividers. “With an extensive brief from the client, the murals had to visually convey unique ideas and content, collaboration, and the future of radio, all with a flavour of Brisbane itself. In addition, the artworks had to work with the surrounding decor, design and colour palette of the new build, and do justice to the exceptional work by the designer,” Matt said. Painting the Cube panels required a unique approach, “Individual stencils were produced and the aerosol was ‘dusted’ on to keep the acoustic qualities of the panels”. The finished work adds a splash of life to the space, and functions as a vibrant background for video conferencing in the boardrooms.

 

The finished space celebrates SCA’s vibrant culture, facilitating collaboration, spontaneous conversation, and increasing productivity. “It’s essential to have the right acoustic treatments as some of our team can be very lively. It’s also vital that when we’re on video calls in meeting rooms, the sound doesn’t echo and bounce around, so we can now have collaborative and easy to follow meetings. We also have the acoustic treatment in a few of our break out spaces that are open to the office—again, it’s crucial that the sound doesn’t travel,” said Nicky, SCA’s Brisbane Operations Manager, adding, “Our staff have become much more collaborative and the staff café has become the heart of the building—it’s through the casual conversations around the kitchen bench that the best outcomes are achieved”.

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