The layout of the newly built Francis Crick Institute is making it hard for some researchers to concentrate, the Guardian reports.
The building, which opened about a year ago, has an open floor plan that's meant to foster informal collaborations. While it does appear to be meeting that goal, some researchers say spots meant for quieter work, particularly near the atrium, can get too noisy, the paper says.
"Some people like the background noise as if they were working in a cafe. Some want absolute silence and it's not great for that," Nicholas Luscombe, a bioinformatician at the Crick, tells the Guardian. "My view is the layout has been extremely successful in terms of what it set out to achieve. You keep bumping into people and that has created new collaborations for me."
Kerstin Sailer, a University College London reader in architecture who is studying the building, tells the Guardian that the hard surfaces there also make it more difficult to buffer noise. She adds that a quarter of people are likely affected by noise.
The Guardian says that the institute is testing noise levels and looking into whether the acoustics need to be altered.