Acoustics case study

Olympia, London


The work to create the new Olympia includes creating a new 4,400-seat live music venue, a 1,500-seat theatre, two hotels, offices, retail outlet, public realm space and affordable commercial units for a wide range of potential tenants. All this whilst retaining listed exhibition halls and other buildings; Grand Hall, National Hall, Pillar Hall and West Hall, and what’s more, allowing exhibitions in these spaces to continue whilst the construction happens.


It’s a highly complex project in all aspects; acoustics is one of those and by the project’s nature it’s a key consideration. All uses of the site compete with each other for acoustic requirements and many need acoustic protection from other activities. And on a site sitting amongst existing residential and commercial properties, alongside a railway and a busy road, the acoustic challenges are complicated, continuous and enormous. We joined the project in 2020 after reviewing designs for the building envelope of the high-performance music venue and found that some changes were needed for the project to meet the acoustic requirements. From then on, we have been Laing O’Rourke’s acoustic consultant across the entire project, to help them successfully deliver the project. We are heavily involved with all disciplines to find solutions to meet all the technical and contractual requirements amongst the constraints. Additional challenges have been created with the need for contractual lines between shell & core and fit-out contracts, varying stakeholder input and requirements and site constraints for what can be achieved.


For the site to function successfully once complete and operational, we have created acoustic designs to control loud music to the neighbours and to other on-site uses. And to prevent road and rail noise affecting quiet hotel bedrooms and offices. The very high-performance envelope for the music venue is unique to the project and has been carefully designed to get the best from the available space. High-performance glazing to hotels, structure-borne noise and vibration control, isolated floor slabs, isolated columns and suitably attenuated ventilation systems are just some of the acoustic design solutions incorporated across the project.

As the existing exhibition areas are remaining open during the redevelopment, a proportion of the works has to be done outside of normal construction hours. Coupled with the close proximity of residential receptors around, we have developed a close collaborative relationship with the site teams, to make sure the correct mitigation measures can be incorporated to the works to minimise potential disturbance, and attain the necessary CoPA section 61 consents.