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Royal Academy of Music – Case Study

The Royal Academy of Music in London is internationally recognised as one of the world’s leading music teaching centres and has been training top professionals for almost 200 years. The Academy recently undertook a major refurbishment project to build the award-winning Susie Sainsbury Theatre and Angela Burgess Recital Hall creating world class spaces to the highest standards of acoustic and aesthetic excellence.

At the same time it was decided to rework some old recording studios and music rooms into a new percussion suite, but the location being directly below the refurbished Theatre gave the Academy cause for concern. After undertaking a number of successful music practice room projects for the Academy in the past, IAC were selected with confidence to design a solution as it was vital the percussion practice was not audible in the newly refurbished auditorium.

The solution was to create a number of IAC MusicBox structures which utilises ‘Moduline’ a high performance modular building system. A suite of 5 rooms were created each comprising of a floating floor which supports the walls and roof. Hence both airborne and structural borne noise are controlled. Integrated into the rooms are IAC high performance Noiselock double doors, interior tuning elements, attenuated ventilation connection points and electrical services. An adjacent Jazz Room was provided with doors and tuners. The doors are IAC Rw 52 types with twin magnetic seals; the double leafs ensured there were no limitations to the size of the instruments used within the rooms.

“Despite the difficulty of working in the basement of a major building site with some really awkward shapes and limitations, IAC delivered a suite of rooms that fully meet the requirements of the Academy and allow full use of the Auditorium with happy percussionists below.”

Pete Smith, – Estates Manager at the Academy


The layout and structure of the rooms was particularly complex and gave the IAC Moduline product a chance to show its flexibility with some demanding shapes. The ceilings were required to follow the profile of the building roof and maximise the volume of the rooms.

The completed rooms are in use and create the perfect environment for the practising percussionists.

At the same time IAC undertook the relocation of eight further previously installed IAC test rooms from the main building in Marylebone Road to another site towards Oxford Street. The modular approach with a rugged series of acoustic components meant the four year old rooms were moved and offer the same level of acoustic performance in their new home. At the new location IAC also took responsibility for moving and up grading the acoustic performance of a number of conventionally built walls forming class rooms which has hugely improved the sound isolation between the teaching spaces.

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