Inspiration never sleeps, especially in today’s hyper-connected world.

In response to this cultural shift, Worcester Polytechnic Institute recently launched the “The WPI Plan,” a radical overhaul in the school’s curricula standards to better emphasize collaboration between fields of study. To complement the needs of this new way of teaching, WPI collaborated with the minds at Gensler to create The Foisie Innovation Studio and Messenger Hall, one of the first advanced lab-living spaces in America. Architects for this project selected Acentech to provide acoustics and audiovisual consulting throughout the design and construction process.

This facility consists of two distinct yet interconnected parts: the first two floors are dedicated to the Foisie Innovation Studio, while the top three floors make up the 140-bed Messenger Hall residences. Acentech’s team of acousticians assisted with the complex needs of this hybrid building. Allowing student dorm rooms to coexist with active learning classrooms and a video recording suite below, and large mechanical equipment above, would have been challenging enough. This project required an unusually deft touch because below the dorm rooms and beside the semi-open classrooms is a double-height maker space full of noisy shop equipment. To allow all of these dynamic components of Foisie Innovation Studio to exist in harmony with one another, Acentech provided robust recommendations for reverberation control in the maker space; detailed analyses of shop equipment noise and, where necessary, upgraded demising constructions for the classrooms, video recording suite, and dorm rooms; and suitably conservative guidelines for HVAC noise and vibration control in the classrooms, video recording suite, conference rooms, and dorm rooms.

WPI’s in-house audiovisual design team looked to Acentech’s systems designers to review and provide guidance on active learning classrooms and recording studio designs. This collaborative effort emphasized the end-user experience of these systems while complementing the internal design standards of WPI.

With a holistic approach to research, education, and student life, WPI sets the new standard for higher education in the digital age.

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