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Wednesday, 3 June

All Quiet In Your Manchester HOME

Contractors and architects creating HOME, Manchester’s latest cultural venue, overcame acoustic and construction challenges using high performance plasterboard and technical support from Knauf.

The £25 million venue is at the heart of First Street North, where it will be the cultural ‘anchor’ of this major new mixed-use development and is the product of a merger between two of Manchester’s best-loved arts organisations – Cornerhouse and the Library Theatre Company.

Among the venue’s facilities are a 500-seat theatre, 150-seat flexible studio space, five cinema screens; a 500sqm, 4m-high gallery space, digital production and broadcast facilities and a cafe bar and restaurant. 


Protecting whole venue

Acoustically, the main challenges were to isolate the theatre and the five cinemas from one another and to protect the whole venue from the railway that ran just 6m from the building and just 8m from the stage in the theatre.

Designed by award winning Dutch architect Meccanoo, HOME was built by Wates Construction with the detailing produced by Space Group which worked closely with Knauf’s technical support team and the drylining subcontractor, Stockport-based Sound Interiors, before work started on site.

With the aid of Knauf’s technical support team the acoustic and fire requirements were slimmed down to eight different wall designs with one type of board being used in the main, Soundshield Plus, reinforced with Knauf Fire Panel where greater fire resistance was required.

“Close liaison with Knauf ensured that the installation process went smoothly with regular site inspections from the Knauf team,” stated Howard Winter, MD, Sound Interiors. “This was a tight inner city site so it was important for us that the lead times for Knauf products were always accurate and timely because without on site planning and production capability, this could have become a major issue given the delivery constraints.”


Getting boxed in

To achieve the acoustic performance needed, the theatre is effectively a box within a box, a steel frame standing on acoustic rubber pads that is completely isolated from the external concrete so there is no sound bridging. The frame is lined with three staggered layers of 15mm Soundshield Plus that incorporates 100mm Knauf Earth Wool Acoustic Partition Roll and so achieves an acoustic performance of 76dB Rw, enough to keep out the noise of the railway just metres away.

The five cinemas within the complex are on the first floor and to stop sound leaking from one to another, are separated by twin-framed partitions that provide 63dB Rw of sound insulation. Each side of the partition is constructed from two 15mm panels of Soundshield Plus on either side of 25mm Knauf Earth Wool Acoustic Partition Roll.

Picture: New HOME for culture in Manchester which made extensive use of Knauf’s Soundshield Plus to deal with acoustic and soundproofing issues (picture courtesy Wates)

Article written by Mike Gannon


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