Macquarie University Council Room


Macquarie University



Completion date


This project involved a high-specification ($1 m) refurbishment of the existing Council Room in the Vice Chancellery Building at Macquarie University.

Our Brief and Scope

The Council Room is circular, and the architectural intent was that the refurbishment should highlight the shape of the room. From an acoustic perspective this is particularly challenging as there is significant potential for acoustic focussing, which in this case was a key factor in the poor speech intelligibility reported prior to the refit. Ambient noise levels from the mechanical services were also high.

The poor acoustic performance of the room was a key driver of the project and achieving a significant improvement in speech intelligibility was the core requirement of the acoustic design brief. The design needed to provide intelligibility for a variety of uses and locations between the 20 people around the Council Table, 15 people seated around the periphery of the room and for the use of the proposed video conferencing system.


Along with minimising internal and external noise sources, absorptive wall treatments were carefully designed to minimise undesirable reflections. A uniquely shaped ceiling reflector was designed to harness the early reflections that support useful speech content. The ceiling worked with the height constrains of the existing structural beams and the vision requirements for the video conferencing screen as well as the architectural directive to maintain a circular aesthetic.

Due to the unique technical demands of the acoustic design for this project, a paper was presented by the Lead Acoustics Designer, Matthew Ottley at the 2018 Australian Acoustical Society conference. Read the paper.

During the project the Marshall Day team was able to draw on its extensive experience of acoustic design in challenging circular spaces. Previous projects include the Oval room at the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building at UTS, Perth State Library, and the oval lecture theatre at Monash University’s Learning and Teaching Building. These projects have all been recognised with national architecture awards.