Case Study: UBC Music Building Renovations

About This Project

In the summer of 2022, UBC’s Music Building underwent extensive renovations to the first, second, and fourth floors to meet current programming requirements.


Scope of Services

As the acoustical consultant of this project, we worked with the architect throughout the design and construction phases to consult on room acoustics and provide recommendations for sound isolation between spaces and floors. For the noise-sensitive practice rooms, we provided advice for controlling the ingress of HVAC, mechanical, and electrical noise.


We also conducted two site visits. On the first visit, before the project began, we assessed sound isolation by taking measurements (of various musical instruments in some cases) through the existing floor structure and between some of the existing practice rooms. Our second visit was a site inspection during the construction phase.


Acoustical Challenges

The fourth floor renovations, in particular, provided an interesting challenge. The updates included a large lecture hall, new music practice rooms, and a number of studios and offices.


Our goal was to establish effective sound isolation between spaces and control sound transmission through the floor to the offices directly below. In addition, we wanted to ensure quality acoustics within all of these spaces, including the lecture hall, which features a grand piano.


Another concern was the potential for structure-borne transmission from the new fourth-floor facilities to the existing recital hall on the second floor. This required complete isolation of the practice rooms from the existing building structure.


The project was carried out over a compressed schedule to permit occupancy at the start of the fall semester. Even with the tight timeline, multiple design revisions were required due to existing space constraints.


Project Benefits

While the older building, which dates to 1968, and compressed schedule posed unique challenges, our team tailored its advice to meet the demands of this project. We worked closely with the architect and head of the music department, communicated the limitations imposed by the existing structure, and recommended measures that would optimize both sound isolation and room acoustics.


Despite the challenges presented by the building and schedule, the final acoustical design met the original project objectives and the facility opened on time.


UBC Music School Renovations

Project Name:

UBC Music Building Renovations

Year Completed:


Capital Cost:

$2.8 million

Case Studies, Education & Research
Music Acoustics, Music Noise Control, Noise Mitigation Design, Room Acoustics, Sound Isolation