Case Study: Guildford Aquatic Centre

About This Project

An expansion of the existing Guildford Recreation Centre in Surrey, BC, the Guildford Aquatic Centre includes a 30,000 square-foot natatorium, home to an Olympic-size pool for competitive swimming, as well as a leisure pool, hot tub, waterslide and kids’ area. The space also accommodates up to 300 spectators during swimming competitions.


Acoustical challenges

Due to their spaciousness and abundance of hard, flat surfaces, swimming pools can present an interesting acoustical challenge. Hard surfaces reflect noise, which then echoes through the voluminous space. In addition, the acoustical panels that can help limit reverberation will often deteriorate and sag when exposed to moisture and humidity. For the Guildford Aquatic Centre, a unique ceiling truss design limited space where acoustical tiles might usually be installed.


Scope of services

BKL worked with the project architect, Bing Thom, early in the design phase to develop solutions to the specific acoustical problems posed by the space. A water-resistant acoustical panel was identified and BKL then worked with StructureCraft, the firm that designed and manufactured the trusses, to customize the acoustical treatments and integrate them into the final construction.


For the lobby and spectator area, BKL recommended concealed acoustical panels that absorb echoes and reflect natural light from the pool’s large windows. This helps reduce the amount of energy required to illuminate the space.


Project benefits

BKL’s acousticians worked closely with the architect and builder to address the acoustical issues that are specific to the Guildford Aquatic Centre, as well as issues typical for all pools.


BKL worked with the architect to identify a water-resistant acoustical treatment and integrate the panels into the 100-foot trusses that span the ceiling.


Above the spectator area and lobby, BKL recommended moisture-proof stone-wool acoustical panels with light-reflecting white finishes. These acoustical panels help reduce reverberation and limit the electrical lighting needed to illuminate the natatorium.


Guildford Aquatic Centre

Year Completed:


Capital Cost:

$38.6 million

Total Area:

112,000 square feet

Pool Area:

30,000 square feet

Case Studies, Sports & Recreation
Noise Mitigation Design, Room Acoustics