Brussels, 4 July 2016 – SPIE Belgium, a subsidiary of the SPIE group, the independent European leader in multi-technical services in the areas of energy and communications, has been selected to supply the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems for the new Elisabeth Hall in Antwerp. With an ingenious and innovative ventilation system, this new concert hall is set to become one of the world’s most acoustically efficient venues.
The new ‘Elisabeth Center Antwerp’ complex will be opening its doors in November 2016. Equipped with the very best facilities, and covering an area of 25 000 m² with capacity for 2 500 people, this new concert and conference venue has been designed so as to draw performers and conference events from around the world.
SPIE Belgium is involved in this project on behalf of the Willemen/Heijmans joint venture. This consortium is particularly experienced when it comes to this type of site, having the concert hall in Utrecht to its name. SPIE Belgium’s expertise in air conditioning has been an asset since the collaboration began: SPIE revised the core features of the designers’ original plan, placing a strong emphasis on energy efficiency.
In this brand-new temple to music, the acoustics have to be perfect. The site is under a ‘vow of silence’, in that there can be no distracting noise caused by the ventilation systems. Three subject-matter experts have been working together to ensure this is achieved seamlessly: one appointed by Ian Simpson Architects (Manchester) and Kirkegaard Associates (Chicago), another by the acoustics department of TVH Royal Haskoningdhv, and a third by SPIE. “We have been able to make a difference, especially in terms of ventilation and soundproofing”, explain Senior Project Managers Jo Maes and Guy Vanuytven.
“To make sure there is absolutely no noise disturbance in the new Elisabeth Hall, we have fitted a separate air vent grid underneath each of the 2 500 seats. The air will be drawn in and distributed evenly around the seats at a very slow speed so as to prevent any air currents, through eight ventilation units located in a plenum chamber beneath the hall’s floor. The walls are also equipped with a system for optimum noise absorption.”
The HVAC component is to be completed by the end of the summer, and the new complex is scheduled to open in November.
Jo Maes is particularly enthusiastic about the contributions SPIE Belgium is making towards the new ‘Elisabeth Center Antwerp’ complex: “The collaboration with the primary contractor and the end client is progressing under the best possible conditions. Our innovative approach to air conditioning and energy efficiency is a particular strength in the eyes of our partners. This project represents an enormous challenge for SPIE Belgium but also a superb endorsement, as the new Elisabeth Center will be a world-renowned concert and conference venue,” concludes Jo Maes.