Royal Conservatory of Music/Telus Centre
The Telus Centre for Performance and Learning (Telus Centre) is an addition to the Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM). The RCM ranks as one of the leading music schools in the western world. In 2002, it embarked on a bold adventure to upgrade and expand its existing facilities. The problem was that half way through its 100 year history, a subway line had been inserted deep beneath the property – a noise source that threatened both the studios and the concert hall.
RCM’s primary goal was to provide the students and faculty with new studios and rehearsal space and, laterally, with a world class 1,140 seat concert hall. Aercoustics, working with Sound Space Design, were responsible for noise and vibration control of the building and had to come up with a solution. The goal was to build a perfectly quiet “N1″ concert hall. A difficult task to say the least. Noise and vibration measurements were performed on site to provide an objective quantification of the actual problem. And to give the owners a visceral experience of just how serious the problem was, the traditional presentation of numbers and graphs was supplemented with a calibrated audio demonstration.
The solution to the subway noise problem was to isolate the building on large rubber pads. What looks like a single building is actually three. At one end the concert hall is bearing on rubber, as is the large rehearsal room at the other end. In between the less sensitive parts of the building are bearing on grade. Many parts of the building also had to be isolated from more than just the subway. They had to be isolated from each other and the surrounding noise of the city. The large rehearsal room features a 1 metre deep window that, at once, provides natural daylight and a formidable barrier to the noise on the street below.
RCM’s teaching facilities and concert space opened in 2008 and 2009 respectively. The rooms are quiet without a trace of subway noise to be heard.
Stair vibration at the Telus Centre
In addition, just prior to the 2009 opening, Aercoustics was engaged to solve another problem.
The lobby staircase was too lively, too bouncy. It lacked the appropriate stability. Aercoustics was retained to solve this vibration problem within a short 1 month period. Testing confirmed that the stair vibration was excessive; well above industry standards.
It was concluded that a Tuned Mass Damper (TMD) would be the most cost effective and practical solution. This device was to be installed on the underside of the stair structure, but be hidden. To accomplish this it had to fit between the stair’s structural beams; a very limited space. Attached to the structure by springs, the mass/spring system was tuned to the problematic vibration and provided effective mitigation.
Prior to delivery to RCM, quality assurance testing was conducted at Aercoustics. This included pre-tuning verification of the TMD as well as ease of assembly testing. Aercoustics also aided in the installation of the TMD and conducted final tuning and verification testing.