Elgin County Courthouse in St. Thomas, Ontario. Courtesy NORR Limited.
Thornton Tomasetti provided architectural acoustics and noise control for a new building that includes three levels housing seven courtrooms, and an underground level of parking, detention, and service facilities. It also includes a Ceremonial Courtroom that is considerably larger and is used for large trials and large events such as Citizenship Ceremonies. The new structure links two existing historical buildings which were renovated, including a large courtroom building and a Registry Office.
The Challenge of Integrating Historic Structures
The Heritage Courtroom is built of very heavy masonry construction with existing historic wood floors. This presented our engineers with a particular challenge to achieve the acoustic separations both horizontally and vertically, as acoustic privacy is often difficult to achieve while maintaining historic features of walls and floors. Unique solutions that matched the existing aesthetic were implemented on a room-by-room basis in order to achieve the required targets. Additionally, a new HVAC system with two air handling units in the basement of the historic building is integrated with the chillers and HVAC of the new building.
Balancing Power and Noise Concerns
Another concern with this facility is that it is designed to function despite of power outage, so operational power is provided via diesel generators. However, the building is located at the edge of the residential area with strict Province of Ontario, MOE guidelines. This required special noise control measures for the generators, which included uniquely designed silencers.
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