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South Hampstead Synagogue

Client: South Hampstead Synagogue

  • RIBA Stages
    • 2: Concept Design
    • 3: Developed Design
    • 4: Technical Design

What we did

South Hampstead Synagogue is a vibrant Jewish orthodox community in north London with nearly 2,000 members. To accommodate the growing congregation and provide better facilities for the community, this redevelopment project involves the complete demolition of the existing Shul and the construction of a new 4-storey building.

The proposed design of the new building will:

  • Incorporate enhanced community, educational and residential facilities, as well as the main worship hall;
  • Make use of the sloping nature of the local roads to provide a multi-storey building that fits within the leafy green setting of this part of north London.

There is a function room at lower ground level for use by members of the congregation for important celebrations, such as weddings and bar and bat mitzvots. It can also be used for extended worship space on high holy days when attendance is high.

The Shul itself has to accommodate the specific requirements of the Jewish religious service, not least that the main orator faces away from the congregation and towards the front wall. This wall therefore needs to reflect sound well so that intelligibility of the service is clear throughout the hall.

Above the Shul are classrooms, nursery and play areas for younger members of the congregation and community, as well as 2 residential flats for visiting rabbi.

As an integral part of this development's design process, we have:

  • Conducted noise surveys to:
    • Measure external noise levels
    • Assess traffic noise sources that could affect different parts of the synagogue;
    • Establish prevailing background noise levels so that plant noise control could be designed to prevent noise nuisance to neighbouring properties;
  • Studied the internal acoustics of the Shul using a proprietary CATT acoustic software package;
  • Used the resulting internal acoustic model to discuss with and advise the project's architect and client on the new building's acoustic requirements, particularly the Shul.

Acoustic features of this project

Based on our measured noise surveys and evaluation, our acoustic design recommendations:

  • Took into account traffic noise break-in through the Shul's natural ventilation;
  • Factored in the different but adjacent uses of the various areas of the synagogue, including noise break-out from late evening events being held in the lower ground function rooms;
  • Encompassed the orientation of the hall, as well as the alignment of and materials needed for the internal finishes (including chairs and floor finishes) so that:
    • Echoes and excessive reverberation were avoided and,
    • Speech intelligibility was enhanced whilst keeping a live feeling to the Shul.
  • Involved extensive screening of roof top plant areas.

The project team

Architect: Allies & Morrison
Acoustics: Adnitt Acoustics


  • High acoustic specifications of the synagogue's Shul
  • Traffic noise break-in


Do you have a similar acoustics requirement for your place of worship project? 

Get in touch with one of our consultants to find out how we can help.

 Make an online enquiry

 020 7099 9735

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