The recent project marks one of the most significant building and renovation projects in the Academy’s near-200-year history.

To achieve the very best performance demands commitment, skill and passion. The team behind the recent reinvention of the Royal Academy of Music in Regent’s Park, London called on all three qualities to create the
stunningly beautiful, acoustically brilliant and inspiring spaces for staff and students. The project included completely refurbishing the 309-seat Susie Sainsbury Theatre and creating the new 100-seat rooftop Angela Burgess Recital Hall. Alongside these impressive spaces, the Academy also renovated 14 practice and dressing rooms, developed five new percussion studios, a large refurbished jazz room and a new control suite for its audio-visual recordings department.

The challenge

Creating impeccable acoustic environments was key during the project. But it was equally important to control how sound travelled throughout the spaces, while ensuring effective isolation from sounds from other areas.

The new performance spaces are hidden behind the listed façade of the Royal Academy of Music’s Edwardian premises, surrounded by Grade I and Grade II listed buildings and located within the Regent’s Park conservation area. The architects, Ian Ritchie Architects, needed to carefully design the new spaces so that they would seamlessly blend into the historic site.

The new Angela Burgess Recital Hall sits above the Susie Sainsbury Theatre, meaning it needs to be acoustically isolated from what was below as well as the other buildings in the vicinity.

“This one of the biggest challenges for the project,” comments Richard Shanahan, Director at All Metal Roofing. “Sound quality was of absolute importance within the performance spaces themselves, but we also had to limit its travel around the building and externally.”

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London, UK

Project location

The Royal Academy of Music,


The solution

As part of the redevelopment of the building, the Royal Academy of Music worked with engineering consultancy, Arup, to create spaces that were completely isolated in terms of acoustics and noise transfer.

This included looking at external noise such as the nearby underground and, as the various concert spaces are so tightly intertwined, the sound coming from the individual rooms. Arup, Ian Ritchie Architects and The Royal Academy of Music teams collaborated to create spaces that were structurally isolated from each other to minimise sound transfer. The Recital Hall itself is actually built as a self-supporting space placed on top of the existing building.

In order to complement the structure of the building and ensure each space was acoustically isolated, the contractors for the project, All Metal Roofing, selected insulation from ROCKWOOL as the ideal material.

“We created a multi-layered approach to the installation, which included installing plywood with vapour and acoustic barrier insulation on both the floors and walls,” explains Richard Shanahan. “We knew we could trust
the ROCKWOOL insulation for its performance and acoustics properties. We worked with the ROCKWOOL team closely during the specification stage to evaluate the acoustics properties of the insulation to ensure it met the strict criteria of the Royal Academy of Music.”

The ROCKWOOL slabs can be applied to an array of general building applications for acoustic and thermal insulation of partition walls, ceilings, floors and roofs. The multi-use solution is well suited for easy application throughout constructions. Importantly for the Royal Academy of Music project, ROCKWOOL RWA45 insulation is both water repellent and vapour permeable, which helps to prevent moisture build-up, damp and rot; condensation was a particular concern due to the type and age of the building.

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Why ROCKWOOL for the Royal Academy?

ROCKWOOL worked with the team at All Metal Roofing to specially create a 50mm version of the HARDROCK® Multi-Fix solution. Its unique Dual Density stone wool composition is why HARDROCK® Multi-Fix (DD) is
renowned for its excellent acoustic reduction, absorption and impact performance, whether from people, machinery or rain on the roof.

HARDROCK® Multi-Fix (DD) is dimensionally stable and will provide long term consistent thermal performance over its lifetime. It also provides the highest fire safety rating of any flat roof board insulation on the market with a Euroclass (A1) non-combustible fire classification and LPCB approval (LPS 1181 Part 1, BS 476: Part 21, EN 13501-1)

All Metal Roofing also installed ROCKWOOL RWA45 100mm and 50mm insulation. ROCKWOOL RWA45 has been developed for thermal, acoustic and fire performance in a range of construction types. RWA45 is made up of high-quality resin bonded slabs in a variety of thicknesses. Specialist facings are available to order to meet the specifications of unique projects.

"We are delighted with the finished result. Working with ROCKWOOL to understand and guarantee the sound performance of the insulation was a crucial part of the project.”

Richard Shanahan

Director at All Metal Roofing

Project Data

Year 2018
Building Type Venue
Application Acoustics
Product type

ROCKWOOL HARDROCK® Multi-Fix (DD) insulation board and ROCKWOOL RWA45 100mm and 50mm insulation