Sound studio

Case Study: Soundproof Partition Walls Highlighted at the Mercury Store

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January 5, 2022 – Contact the FacilitiesNet editorial team »


The Mercury Store opened in June 2021, housing 13,000 square feet of space for artists. To separate the massive space into two soundproof performance zones, CO Adaptive Architecture specified two Hufcor movable partitions, each with an STC rating of 54.

The architect brings a vision to the project

Following the design visions of CO Adaptive Architecture PLLC, Metrofold Inc. supplied the soundproof panels for the project. The Yorke Construction Corporation team took center stage to revive the old industrial facility.

The construction group restored and repaired the existing masonry structure, completely replaced all windows and skylights, and re-established the existing skylight above the main assembly spaces. They added structural steel reinforcements to create a double-height assembly space, revised mechanical, electrical and plumbing operations, and installed one of the first glue-laminated wood beam / column and engineered parquet systems from new York City.

However, before the first plank was nailed in place, the team at CO Adaptive Architecture brought the redesign to life. The Brooklyn-based company specializes in the creative reuse of low-carbon, energy-efficient spaces.

“This project represents a dream come true for us; restore an old building, give it a new use and bring it into the next century, ”explains Ruth Mandl, director of CO Adaptive Architecture. “We are a process-driven architectural practice focused on modernizing our existing building stock to create energy-efficient, climate-resilient and spatially beautiful environments. ”

Best-in-class movable room dividers

Dizzying spaces were created on one side of the double A-frame warehouse by removing a floor. The open rehearsal and performance areas display the beautiful existing solid wood trusses and wood roof joists. All existing windows and skylights have been restored and replaced, allowing natural light to wash through the interior.

To divide the space as needed, while providing sound control for the performers, members of the CO Adaptive team explored room divider options early in the design phase. They also consulted with acoustic design experts from Charcoal Blue, one of the leading international theater, acoustics and design consulting services.

“The customer’s goal has always been to create a flexible environment,” says Mandl. “It meant incorporating the best acoustic partitions in its class. We needed these walls to meet extremely high 20 foot partition heights, as well as sound insulation testing and fire resistance ratings, while staying within our cost limits. After extensive research, we determined that Hufcor was the only partition manufacturer that met all of our constraints and needs.

Importance of sound control

When fully occupied, the Mercury Store has the potential to host multiple Unique Performances simultaneously. During the design phase, CO Adaptive imagined the large space cut in half to simultaneously accommodate rock groups and passionate theatrical productions.

“Mercury Store owners want the flexibility to use the large double-height space as two studios that are completely isolated from sound,” says Mandl. “In their minds, this means the possibility that deep basic sounds in one half of the room might not transfer to the other section where a soliloquy could be performed at the same time.”

To ensure the highest level of noise constraints, the architects, alongside their acoustics consultants, decided to have two identical Hufcor Series 642 matched panel partition walls in space, separated by an airspace of only 4 1/2 feet. Each partition has steel sheets on the inside, to help achieve an STC rating of 54 for this project.

Movable panels are nominal four inches thick and have a 16 gauge steel frame. CO Adaptive customized the panels by choosing a white trim with sound absorbing fabric cover in Hytex Harmony finish. The fabric is made from 100 percent recycled content which meets Class A fire surface burn specifications.

Wall-to-wall functional panels can be stacked at one or both ends of the hanging rail, or in a pocket area. Because they are available in a maximum height of 24’3 ”, the panels were ideal for the project.

Putting movable partitions to the test

To complete the acoustic sound wall and provide a flow of light between the two spaces, CO Adaptive and Charcoal Blue have specified a trapezoidal transparent glass window above the partitions. Made up of four layers of glass of varying thickness, the window has a variety of air spaces between the glass. In addition, the skylight at the top of the building is made of high performance glass.

“The ease of use and effective sound insulation are excellent,” says Karl Franklin Allen, director of production and facilities, The Mercury Store, CO Adaptive. “Room dividers are much easier to use than any I’ve known in the past. At the moment, all of our studios are reserved. We’ve worked almost exclusively with the partitions in place and they work quite well.

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