VISITORS with sensory disabilities will now be able to enjoy Winchester Science Centre as the charity has undergone a major project.

Due to the centre being constructed from concrete, steel and glass it offers panoramic views of the South Downs National Park, but with an abundance of hard surfaces meant that sounds made by people, the café and exhibits bounced around the building and created a constant noise, annoying for many visitors but overwhelming for those with sensory disabilities.

Working with Peter Rogers from Winchester-based acoustics consultancy Sustainable Acoustics, the centre team were able to identify the venue’s ‘noise hot-spots’, but after years of the changing priorities and limited budgets it meant the project did not go-ahead.

Now, Hampshire-based Ecophon have carried out the work to improve the wellbeing of visitors with unique installations.

From a calming wave-like installation above the welcome area to fun pink patchwork squares over the café to an exclusively designed acoustic tree with leaves shaped like those of the English Oak, each set of acoustics will focus on solving sound problems, improving ambient noise and providing an aesthetically pleasing environment for visitors.

There will also be an opportunity for visitors to learn about how acoustic solutions have improved the centre and how they can be used in homes, schools and workplaces to improve people’s productivity and wellbeing.

Ben Ward, chief executive officer of Winchester Science Centre, said: “No two visitors are the same. Everyone has different needs when they visit us, from the exhibits they enjoy and the interaction they require to the information they receive and the facilities they use. That is why, over the past few years, thanks to our funders, particularly Enterprise M3 LEP, Biffa Awards and Garfield Weston Foundation, we have made major strides in achieving our mission of making the Centre accessible to all. The new acoustics are the next exciting stage in this project and we can’t wait to hear what our visitors think.”

Jonathan Cherry, managing director of Ecophon, added: “Winchester Science Centre’s ambition to become a truly accessible experience, and a showcase for acoustics through its new exhibition, presented a compelling case study. I’m delighted we’re able to provide the support they need and to be able to showcase some of our very latest products in the design, which is fun and playful and a perfect fit for the centre.”

Ecophon has also provided additional materials to use within the exhibition so that we can create a Recombobulation Room - a quiet space for visitors who need time away from the hustle and bustle of the centre.