Federation Square


Lab Architecture Studio



Completion date


Federation Square is a vibrant and exciting collection of architecturally striking and individual buildings located at the primary entry to Melbourne's Central Business District. The site includes approximately 48,000 square metres of building floor space located on a 3.8 hectare site.

Marshall Day Acoustics provided full acoustic design services for facilities ranging from a glass performance atrium to radio studios and an art gallery. 


The Square, an open plaza capable of hosting up to 15,000 people at any one time, with a large video screen and an extensive open air sound reinforcement system

The Atrium, a striking structure made of glass, steel and zinc that is covered from above but open to outside, including bars, cafes and shops

BMW Edge, a 290-to-450 seat performance space situated at the river end of the Atrium, designed for music, small to medium scale theatre, comedy, talks and presentations, product launches and cabaret. The architectural and aesthetic requirements of this space, which is constructed entirely of glass, steel and timber presented enormous challenges in achieving the desired acoustic ambience without compromising aesthetics

The Ian Potter Centre of NGV Australia, the world's first major gallery dedicated exclusively to Australian art. It is a spectacular showcase comprising over 20 galleries housed within a landmark architectural complex. The acoustic challenges of the gallery spaces were many and varied, with difficult room acoustics caused by hard surfaces of timber, glass and plasterboard; isolation of sound transfer between open and connected gallery spaces and achieving low mechanical services noise from high capacity air handling systems

Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), a state-of-the-art facility for the preservation, exhibition and promotion of Victorian, Australian and International screen content, reflecting more than a century of Australia 's presence at the forefront of the moving image industry. ACMI houses two multi-format cinemas, the world's largest dedicated screen gallery and hands-on public activity, education and production zones. The acoustic design of the cinemas was particularly demanding, with a need to isolate external noise from heavy traffic and trams on the adjacent city streets, using only lightweight construction materials, as well as incorporating a visually stimulating internal finish to accommodate the architectural intent whilst still achieving the acoustic requirements. The Screen Gallery offered additional challenges, with the location of the suburban rail network within 10 metres of the Screen Gallery wall

SBS - Radio, Television and Online, includes the Melbourne studios and offices of SBS (Special Broadcasting Service), Australia 's national multicultural and multilingual public broadcaster. Programs in more than 60 languages are broadcast on SBS TV, Radio and SBS Online

Melbourne Visitor Centre, highlighting what Melbourne and Victoria has to offer visitors

The greatest acoustic challenge at Federation Square was its location directly above Melbourne 's major rail link, consisting of 14 separate rail lines catering for Melbourne's suburban electric passenger trains, country diesel passenger trains and diesel goods trains.

The high acoustic sensitivity of the spaces above, combined with high levels of vibration, airborne sound and structure-borne sound generated by the constant rail traffic presented the designers with a vibration and sound isolation problem of the utmost complexity.

To control vibration and structure-borne noise transmission, a vibration isolated floating deck was constructed over the rail lines to support the sensitive buildings above. A combination of high capacity steel springs and rubber pads support specific regions (zones) of the concrete deck and buildings. Marshall Day Acoustics was responsible for optimising the design proposal and for the implementation phase of the deck vibration isolation.

A myriad of challenges faced the acoustic designers on this extensive and prestigious project, with an outcome that had the highly sensitive acoustic spaces achieving compliance with the design criteria for vibration and noise.