In a joint effort, Goody Clancy & Associates of Boston and Charles Correa Associates of Bombay, India created a multi-faceted, world-class center for brain research. This landmark institution was designed to straddle an active freight railway line. In light of the critical research activities and sensitive equipment planned for the new facility, Acentech was brought onto the project team to ensure vibration from the train would not mitigate the goals of this research center. In addition to the critical vibration isolation and control services, Acentech also provided architectural acoustics, mechanical system noise, and audiovisual system design consulting.

The building houses a variety of wet and dry laboratories, as well as facilities to support biology, biochemistry, neurobiology, behavioral, and cognitive research. At 400,000 SF, the research complex is one of the largest facilities of its type in the world. Acentech’s acoustics consultants worked with the design team to identify spaces that have particular acoustical requirements, including reverberation control in a large multi-story atrium that serves as the nexus between the building’s three research institutions, sound isolation between noise-sensitive spaces, control of noise from the building’s intensive laboratory HVAC systems, and sound isolation from passing trains. Based on this, we helped to design room finishes, wall and ceiling constructions, and mechanical system noise and vibration control.

Acentech provided advanced audiovisual systems design expertise for over thirty teaching and learning spaces. The complex’s 150-seat auditorium and two 75-seat seminar rooms all come equipped with state-of-the-art, multi-site interactive IP/ISDN videoconferencing systems. Each classroom, conference room, and meeting space was outfitted to accommodate current and future audiovisual technologies. The atrium, meanwhile, sports a first-class sound system and plasma displays in its circulation areas.

The railway presented an extraordinary challenge for the design team, as parts of the structure had to be isolated from noise and vibrations from passing trains. Acentech’s transportation noise engineers used rail-induced vibration data to determine the amount of isolation that would be required to protect sensitive equipment in the building. We also helped MIT establish vibration thresholds for certain facilities by subjecting them to known levels of vibration before any experiments started within these hyper-responsive spaces.

MIT’s Brain and Cognitive Sciences Complex is LEED Silver certified and the recipient of the AIA New England Design Award, the International Masonry Institute Best Dimensional Stone Award, the New England Golden Trowel Award, and the Associated General Contractors of America AON Build America Award.

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