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Acoustic Consulting

We design environments acoustically to enhance commercial and cultural life and to minimise the unwanted effects of noise and vibration.

As a global leader in acoustic consulting, Arup’s experts make the unseen changes that can transform our daily experience in diverse environments.

We are responsible for beautiful sound in concert halls around the world; also for controlling vibration in sensitive laboratory environments. We help reduce the impact of noise from airportshighways and stadiums, while making sure sound systems are heard with clarity in even the busiest transport hubs.

Our international acoustic design team provides services in architectural, building, transport and environmental acoustics. We help clients achieve their aspirations in acoustics by guiding projects from conception and planning through design, construction, testing and commissioning.

An introduction to the SoundLab and how it helps us understand the impact of acoustics with our designs.

Precise performance

Acoustic excellence breeds success in performing arts and broadcasting. Arup’s technical, creative and strategic specialists shape performance spaces that work for owners and operators and win acclaim from audiences.

In projects such as the Melbourne Recital Centre (MRC), Arup fuses architecture with acoustics to achieve optimal sound quality. In the MRC’s Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, pixelated surfaces fabricated from Australian hoop pine create visual interest while also enhancing the timbre and blending of instruments.

We draw on the resources of Arup’s global offices and the skills of some of the world’s best acoustics specialists in order to realise business-critical projects in any location. We also continue to invest strongly in technology and research.

Arup’s Soundlab, an innovative virtual listening environment, allows clients and designers to hear the sound of existing spaces, and to test the sound of designs. It helps us set new standards, as at the Oslo Opera House.

Raj Patel discusses how the SoundLab is used to listen to performing arts spaces before they are built.

Steering planning success

SoundLab helps us give developers and stakeholders a more accurate understanding of environmental noise impacts for planned developments. That insight, together with our experience in managing noise and vibration issues, helps us resolve potential hurdles at planning stage, win acceptance and secure consents.

We contribute strongly to environmental impact assessments, from high-profile projects such as High Speed 1 to renewable energy developments including wind farms in Wales. By partnering with our environmental design specialists, we sensitively minimise the potential impact of development on communities.

Positive environments

Room acoustics contribute to pleasant and productive environments in schools, workplaceshomes and hotels. Arup excels in these environments. We also take room acoustics further with specialised applications, such as our acoustic strategies to ensure doctor–patient confidentiality for the Yale University Health Service Center.

At Arup, we are strongly equipped to meet the emerging acoustic challenges of sustainable building design. Arup’s acoustically optimised air vents allow natural ventilation into buildings without unwelcome street or background noise. We have even been able to bring broadcast-quality acoustics into naturally ventilated studios for BSkyB’s Harlequin 1.

We also work closely with building services engineers in sound-sensitive environments such as the Lewis Gluckman Gallery to minimise noise intrusion from alternative technologies for heating and cooling.

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Global contact

Raj Patel
  • Raj Patel

    Raj Patel

    Raj Patel

    Americas Region Board Member, Arup Fellow

    Your best solution to date?

    The Unicorn Children’s Theatre. The whole building has environments, acoustics and technical facilities to support cutting edge performances that engage young minds.

    Why is it significant?

    Unicorn put on the first theatre performance I ever saw aged 7, and I haven’t forgotten it! It’s the first purpose built theatre for children and the main theatre is designed specifically to heighten speech intelligibility for young children. It is built on a tight site, sensitive spaces are stacked on top of each other, is close to a busy road and above the London Underground. This required a rigorous integrated design team process ensuring the acoustic criteria were achieved, and did so with minimal use of materials for sustainability.

    Your particular skill?

    Acoustics, audio and visual design. Leading multi-disciplinary design teams on arts and culture projects. Encouraging the client, architect and designers to think from the inside out, to think about the user experience of buildings and hopefully to create environments that will provide life-changing experiences for artists and audiences.


    The ability for the arts to transform life for the better.

    Why Arup?

    Freedom for boundless creativity. Resources to achieve what seems impossible. Working with the best people in the world to do it.

    Anything else?

    I have collaborated with several artists on works that have been shown at venues including the Whitney Museum of American Art, MoMA PS1, Tate Modern and Art Basel.

  • Global Acoustics Leader
  • Andrew Nicol

    Andrew Nicol

    Andrew Nicol. Image credit Larry Pitt.

    Your best solution to date?

    Getting 400,000 hollow timber beads to control the acoustic in a unique theatre.

    Why is it significant?

    This was a one-off bespoke design that has never been tried before and despite a few sceptics, we came up with a solution that looked great and sounds fantastic!

    Your particular skill?

    Leading and inspiring a team of some of the cleverest people I know to design and create within the built environment.


    Plenty. I have more enthusiasm today than I have ever had before.

    Why Arup?

    Arup brings together some of the most amazing talent from around the world (under one virtual roof) and allows us to do the things we really enjoy doing. Better still, there is overwhelming support from the firm to do this, which is very unique!

    Anything else?

    The world of design is a place of opportunity. It is our job to explore it.

  • t: +61 (0) 3 9668 5500
  • e:
  • Melbourne [14:09]

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