Acoustic ceilings can help to create an all-embracing silence

Silence. You immediately notice it when you enter the Créagora building which is occupied by health insurance fund, Christian Mutuality, in Champion near Namur. A pleasant, all-embracing silence.

And all this while our eardrums have just been plagued by the persistent noise from the nearby motorway. A few seconds in the interior of Créagora is suffice to make you aware of the extremely positive influence of the acoustic ceiling solutions from Rockfon, which have been applied in a well-considered way to promote the comfort of employees.

"As a client, we were confronted with two major challenges in this project: the sloping terrain and the motorway, the noise of which is amplified when it rains," says Didier Géronnez, project manager and building manager at Christian Mutuality.

The acoustic engineer at AVEA consulting worked out a terrain model by monitoring the sound level for fifteen days with the help of sound meters. The model showed that at certain moments the noise increased to 85 dB which is the maximum recommended exposure limit for human hearing!

The results were transferred to Atelier 4D and Atelier d'Architecture Ad'A architects, who co-designed the building. They designed it in a rigid north-south orientation to retain perspectives and to preserve the surrounding green environment as much as possible. 

Sacred silence despite a busy working environment

Inside the building, conversations do not disturb others. In meeting rooms, you only notice the slight buzz of ventilation and you cannot hear the large  training session being delivered in the adjoining meeting room separated by movable walls. "It is undoubtedly the excellent acoustic performance that ensures that these days we get more and more requests from companies that want to reserve our meeting rooms," said Didier Géronnez.

This is thanks to the 3,000 m² Rockfon Tropic acoustic ceiling tiles that can be found on all floors.

The call centres

In the two large office spaces reserved for call centres, the acoustic properties are enhanced by sound-absorbing furniture, which has been custom-developed based on the specifications of the acoustic engineer. In the first call centre, CM employees receive calls from elderly people and sometimes have to be able to speak loudly without disturbing their neighbour. These senior customers feel must not experience disturbing background noise on the call. In the second call centre, the operators receive approximately two thousand calls a day.

Despite these thousands of conversations, there is a consecrated silence in both spaces.

The philosophy translated into "vertical street" to create a wow effect

"The first discussions within the framework of the Créagora project were not about the building, but about the philosophy behind the project," recalls Didier Géronnez.


Rue de Fernelmont 40
5020 Namur

The idea was to create a research, development, and innovation environment where various actors with common interests and addressing challenges of aging can meet, collaborate and exchange valuable information

Didier Géronnez

The architects put this collaboratuve philosophy into practice through the creation of a "vertical street" which is full of curves and fluidity, featuring a staircase enabling circulation and chance meetings. It was a huge architectural and acoustic challenge since this staircase almost covers the entire height of the building.

"It was certainly a first for us," says architect Dany Poncelet (Atelier 4D). It was a specific requirement that effectively led to a very special design. In preparation, we made 3D visualisations and even a model in polystyrene, but it was only on the day that the stairwell was removed that we could see the result. The "vertical street" flows into pedestrian lanes, stairs, terraces, squares and lookout points, where CM employees can chat, drink a coffee or work to their heart's content."

Since then, in this extraordinary space which has become the heart of the building, numerous excellent ideas have emerged. Which is why the ultramodern lifts are used much less than the stairs ...

A valuable acoustic contribution in the restaurant

Despite the non-acoustic glazed floor tiles and the sound of plates and cutlery, conversations between employees in the restaurant has the same acoustic climate as the rest of the building. Rockfon Tropic ceiling panels are complemented with immense white Rockfon® Mono® Acoustic elements to optimize sound absorption. Two pieces that are easy to maintain and preserve their uniform white colour as time goes by. 



Location:Namur, Belgium
Architect:Atelier 4D & Atelier d'Architecture Ad'A
Photographer:Michael van Oosten
Tiles:Rockfon® Mono Acoustic
Grids:Chicago Metallic™ Monolithic