Penguin Parade Visitor Centre - Autex Acoustics | ArchiPro

Penguin Parade Visitor Centre

To increase penguin conservation efforts and cater for up to 4,000 visitors a night, Philip Island’s Penguin Parade Visitor Centre was in desperate need of an upgrade. Lead by Terroir Architects, the team set out to transform the centre into a beautiful, practical public space. Due to the size, shape, and interior materials, multiple acoustic treatments were required to ensure the centre would be fit for the purpose.

Since the 1920s, visitors have flocked to the beach at Philip Island’s Summerland Peninsula to observe the nightly arrival of little penguins—also known as the Penguin Parade.

As the Penguin Parade’s popularity has grown, so too has the need to protect the penguin population and manage the human impact on the colony—which can see up to 4,000 visitors in a single night. In 1988 a visitor centre was constructed, complete with viewing platforms and boardwalks. However, after just over 30 years of service, the centre was in desperate need of an upgrade.

For Jarvis Weston, Projects Coordinator for Philip Island Nature Parks, the new visitor centre had to meet several key requirements. “Through our conservation efforts, we’ve helped to increase the size of the colony from 12,000 to 32,000—so we needed to shift the location of the centre and give 6.7 hectares of land back to the penguins”.

Multi-award-winning architects Terroir created a spectacular, star-shaped concept for the new visitor centre; a stunning zinc-cladded exterior and equally impressive geometric interior composed of glass, ply, and concrete finishes. However, with so many hard surfaces, the acoustics were an obvious challenge. David McPeak, the Terroir Associate, explains thus, “Treating the building interior acoustically, without compromising the building’s internal geometry, required in-depth product research and development with the acoustic engineer. Ensuring strict fire codes were met was also a challenge when selecting appropriate materials for the project”.

Not only did the centre’s large open spaces, high ceilings, and irregular triangular shapes call for a high-performing, integrated acoustic solution—but the chosen product needed to be light-weight, easy to install, and easy to cut on-site to achieve the desired aesthetic.

Working closely with their acoustic engineer, Terroir selected a range of Autex acoustic solutions to meet the requirements of different spaces within the visitor centre. Autex GreenStuf® Soffit and Slab Liner were specified in the main hall, Black Autex 50mm Quietspace® Panel was installed in the theatre, and Autex Vertiface™ in ‘Myst’ was applied in both the education centre and administration areas.

“The Autex solution delivers on acoustic performance without compromising the overall design aesthetic. Furthermore, we’ve already received positive feedback from both clients and users on the acoustic comfort within the building – which is a testimony to the performance and reliability of the Autex products used, and their ability to seamlessly work within the aesthetic of the robust interior” McPeak said.

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Penguin Parade Visitor Centre
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