SoundLab is a state-of-the-art acoustic simulation space which utilizes advanced audio technology, allowing clients and designers to hear the sound of any given sonic environment—existing or conceptual. There are currently nine SoundLabs in existence with Chicago’s being the most recent. Once the acoustical variables of a space are analyzed by Arup’s engineers, its unique soundscape can be precisely mapped and reproduced within the SoundLab. The sound that is produced surpasses the audio quality of conventional sound production and is described as ambisonic—a truly three-dimensional acoustical experience.

Arup enlisted the architects to collaborate in designing an enclosure for their new SoundLab within their existing Chicago office, located in the historic JewelersBuilding. The room was conceived as a glowing, living object in their space – to project the importance of this growing market sector for Arup.

An acoustical envelope was created out of conventional framing, gypsum board and a thick layer of fabric-wrapped sound absorbing panels on the interior. On the exterior of the room, translucent acrylic wall panels are set in gasketed aluminum channels and backlit with a programmable LED fixture that can range in color across the RGB spectrum. The detail of this illuminated acrylic has made SoundLab the physical and conversational focal point of Arup’s Chicago practice.


Project Type


Chicago, United States

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