The Tramshed, a lively new music destination in the heart of Cardiff city centre, is proving successful in ensuring the best sound quality for audiences while respecting the needs of the local community with Siniat's innovative acoustic insulation system
The Grade-II listed Tramshed in Grangetown, Cardiff is thriving in its new lease of life. Thanks to a programme of specialist construction works, the Victorian structure – a former central maintenance depot for the city’s trams and buses – has been transformed into a vibrant, new community hub and arts centre in the heart of the city.
Following developers DS Properties’ purchase of the Tramshed from Cardiff City Council, works began in 2015 to convert the previously vacant depot into a multi-purpose space which now offers commercial offices, a 40-seat cinema, a café-bar, a 1,000 person-capacity live music venue and studio flats on a new first floor.
Siniat worked alongside DS Properties and steel framing company Manorcraft Interior Systems to develop an innovative, acoustically insulated enclosure for the new music venue. The Tramshed is located in a quiet residential area of the city so the challenge was to ensure great acoustics for acts performing at the venue, while reducing to an absolute minimum any noise nuisance for surrounding residents.
Built in 1902 for Cardiff Corporation to house electric trams, which served the city centre up to 1950, the Tramshed is a large industrial building with brick external walls and a metal angled trussed roof. The new acoustic insulation system for the music venue needed to be sufficient to cope with noise levels in excess of 100 decibels from live bands, while working within the context of a historic structure not well suited for noise absorption.
The solution came in the form of an acoustically insulated drywall ‘box’ which could house the venue internally within the building. High-performance drywall structures are very heavy and the existing building did not provide the structural framing to support this kind of system. Siniat therefore worked with the project architect and the structural engineer to develop a hot rolled steel cradle frame which could support its weight.
Three layers of Siniat 15mm GTEC dB Board – a specialist, dense plasterboard which offers superior acoustic performance – were applied to the steel frame and held in place with GTEC Acoustic V Braces and Twin GTEC C Studs to form the internal face of the enclosure.
This twin frame partition system minimises sound transmission while also offering natural resistance to bowing, bending and insect infestation. The use of heavy acoustic insulated boards also helped the project team to meet the strict fire regulations for a venue of this kind. The triple boarded partitions provide 120 minutes of fire protection.
A 90mm independent stud frame with glass wool insulation and three layers of Siniat 15mm GTEC dB Board was then installed along the inside face of the venue’s one external, single skin brick wall to prevent any sound from breaking out into the street running parallel to the building.
To form the ‘lid’ of the box, a suspended Siniat Mass Barrier M/F Ceiling system was specified to ensure high acoustic performance while also providing a void area for building services engineering.
The acoustic performance of any insulated partition is only as good as that of its junctions and abutting structures. Particular attention was therefore paid to junctions and abutments to prevent flanking sound transmission – that is, noise escaping via an indirect path. The mass barrier ceiling system was hung from GTEC Phonistar Acoustic Hangers, which are strengthened to support acoustically insulated higher mass ceilings and are dampened to prevent sound vibration escaping along them.
Siniat provided full support throughout the design and installation stages of the Tramshed project. Chris Morton, managing director at Manorcraft, commented: 'The Tramshed was a challenging job, from both a technical and a practical perspective. We were required to work to very tight timescales to ensure that the venue would be ready to open its doors in time for its first gigs.
'However, the diversity of Siniat’s product range ensured that we were able to meet the high acoustic performance required of the venue and Chris Norris of Siniat was on hand throughout the construction works to provide technical support and advice. His expert knowledge was invaluable to the success of the project,' Morton added.
The new music venue opened its doors for its first gig with Irish band Hothouse Flowers in October 2015. Fans praised the sound quality of the new venue, while no complaints were received from surrounding residents.