Southampton FC refits locker rooms with special acoustics to help players focus


Premier League soccer side Southampton FC has recently completed works on a redesign of its locker rooms at St Mary’s Stadium, where they now feature upgraded acoustics so coaches can be heard with greater intelligibility and players able to focus better.

Architecture and design practice KSS were appointed to redesign the home team changing suite, while Rockfon Mono Acoustic was chosen to help deliver an optimized environment for pre-match preparedness.

Pacy and Wheatley Acoustics was tasked to create an innovative ceiling in the dressing room, which used Mono Acoustic for the installation. However, the curved layout of the changing room space and the high specification meant every facet of its interior demanded precise engineering and detailing.

The home team changing rooms at Southampton FC’s St Marys Stadium by KSS architects.

“Excellent acoustics are fundamental to creating the right atmosphere, and good speech intelligibility is critical. The wall and floor finishes are necessarily of resistant materials, and so the acoustic analysis determined a class A acoustic absorber was required for the ceiling. Rockfon was specified by KSS as it was able to conform readily to the curvilinear geometry of the room and to achieve the double curvature demanded by the central recessed, back lit oculus. In terms of design, Mono Acoustic provides a high quality, monolithic appearance fulfilling the brief for a single, unifying, neutral ceiling element, enclosing but not dominating the space,” said Michael McCollum, associate director at KSS.

Rockfon Mono Acoustic combines a monolithic ceiling with the type of high performance sound absorption found with modular suspended ceilings. To create a continuous finish, the ceiling tile substrate is installed and then finished with a specialist acoustic render to create a smooth white surface. The ceiling allows for easy incorporation of lighting and audio along with other mechanical systems whilst delivering Class A2 fire protection. The system also offers dimensionally stability at up to 100% relative humidity and can be installed in temperatures ranging from 0˚C to 40˚C.

“The space does not benefit from natural light, so the fact that ROCKFON Mono Acoustic achieves 87% light reflection and 99% light diffusion, is highly desirable. It provides Class A sound absorption to significantly decrease echo and reverberation, helping create the perfect environment for these elite athletes to communicate with their teammates and to focus,” said Craig Wheatley, director at Pacy and Wheatley.

Pacy and Wheatley worked alongside high specification fit out and construction specialists, ITS Interiors.

“Rockfon Mono Acoustic was used to great effect in Southampton FC’s state-of-the-art changing rooms. We constructed the ceiling substrate, including the bespoke central elliptical former, off-site in kit form. Once this was installed and painstakingly prepared, the Pacy and Wheatley team applied the Elegant Render. We then installed the illuminated ceiling section to create the central focal point,” said ITS director Chris Howe.

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James has been Editor of Stadia since 2018 having worked at print and digital magazines and websites around the world covering everything from lifestyle to sport, technology, motoring, and more. He also edits Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International.

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