Transforming interior spaces with innovative acoustic solutions




Sound solutions for school aquatic centres

Architect: NBRS Sydney

Installer: Auzoom Projects

Categories: Education, Project, Sports and aquatics

Builder: Taylor Construction

Account Manager: Colin Freeman

Photographer: Mike Chorley Photography

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Solving the complex challenges of noise control in high-humidity environments

The project

In selecting an acoustic treatment for the new aquatic centre at Tara Anglican School for Girls, designers NBRS Sydney faced the twin challenges of a large, echoing space and a moisture-laden atmosphere.


“As well as being a sports facility, the aquatic centre is also a teaching and learning environment,” says Melanie Karaca, Associate Architect at NBRS, “so having excellent acoustics was imperative. We also had to contend with moisture and chemicals in the air.”


Replacing the school’s old outdoor pool, the new aquatic centre houses a 25-metre, eight-lane competition pool complete with tiered seating, a fitness centre, and a separate learn-to-swim pool.


“After looking at various sites on the campus, we selected a hillside overlooking a beautiful tree-filled park,” says Melanie. “In our design process, we considered the Dharug people, who are the traditional owners/custodians of the land, and so the idea of swimming in nature and natural water holes inspired our approach.”


The problem


As a large, echoing space, the aquatic centre required a high level of sound absorption. “It needed those really good acoustics to provide audibility when people are teaching,” says Melanie. “School swimming pools are noisy places, and when there are competitions or water polo games, it’s important that participants aren’t overwhelmed or distracted.”


The design of the interior, with its concrete concourse and limited wall space, meant that the best place for the acoustic treatment was overhead. “The ceiling was the ideal location for panels,” says Melanie, “so we looked to Autex Acoustics® products for their high performance.”

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The solution

The designers selected the 12mm-thick Frontier™️ Tundra acoustic ceiling system for targeted sound absorption in colours that enhanced a design aesthetic referencing the school’s natural and historical surroundings. “We wanted materials that reflected the patterns and colour of nature, particularly around the theme of shells, and Frontier has a beautiful, variegated texture and a colour reminiscent of cockle shells.”


For the installation, the team at Taylor Construction and Auzoom Projects utilised a modified Autex Acoustics installation system, suspending the panels from the ceiling on corrosion-resistant brackets. 

“Importantly, the system has a sliding stainless-steel clip that our installers could adjust to get the right heights,” says Taylor’s senior project manager Fred Sedighi. ‘Given the corrosive environment, and especially with the chlorination, the stainless steel was essential.’

The result

“As well as performing well, the panels looked good,” says Fred. “They also concealed a lot of the services in the ceiling space, resulting in a tidy appearance.”


For Melanie and Fred, collaboration with Autex Acoustics was seamless from planning through to installation. 


“We knew how we wanted it to look, and the acoustic consultants advised on performance,” says Melanie. “Next, we selected products from the range, with further guidance from Autex.”


“A pool consultant helped us ensure that every fixing and element was designed and installed with the corrosive environment in mind,” says Fred. “Autex were very helpful on this point, too.”


For students, staff and visitors to Tara’s aquatic centre, the benefits of the Autex acoustic system are audible. “We’re impressed with how it is sounding,” says Melanie, “and thrilled with the outcome.”

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Project Team

It's all about people

Colin Freeman

State Manager - NSW & ACT

NBRS Sydney


Auzoom Projects


Taylor Construction


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