Topping out ceremony for new laboratories

Wednesday 25 Jun 14
by Eva Helena Andersen

The architects, the contractors, the Director of DTU and the Head of Campus Service, the CEO, the construction workers as well as the researchers from the Hearing Systems group all showed up on Thursday 19th June to celebrate the topping out ceremony for the new laboratories.


DTU Director Claus Nielsen (left) was very impressed by the organization of the work. Here he is talking to Project Manager Terkel Jespersen.

Head of Campus Service Jacob Steen Møller (left) and Construction Director at C.C. Brun Enterprise Jan Stysiek

Kristian Gøtsche-Rasmussen, Interacoustics Research Unit, and Torben Poulsen, retired Professor at Hearing Systems, watching the building process in the future Anechoic Chambers

In order to please the gods and to drive evil spirits away, one used to put plants onto the roof, and the good energy from these plants could spread out through the whole building.

 Director of DTU Claus Nielsen opened the session:
“ A unique facility is happening here. Thanks to a generous donation from the Oticon Foundation, we are very happy and proud to establish the new Oticon Centre of Excellence for Hearing and Speech Sciences at DTU.
It's amazing to see how the hearing aid industry in particular is supporting the new developments that are happening at DTU and work together with researchers.
I wish the center every success and happiness,” Claus Nielsen said and continued with smile specially addressed to Torsten Dau and the Hearing Systems group researchers:
“Now, the expectations of solving ‘The Coctail Party Problem’ is of course quite big,” he continued and brought smiles on everybody’s faces.

New audiovisual laboratory
Torsten Dau, Head of Hearing Systems continued:

“Thank you all for showing up to this event.This is of course something great for us - we as researchers are very much looking forward to our work in the new laboratories and to creating many new exciting results.

Now, a topping out ceremony is especially a party for the construction workers and I really must say that - like many others- I am extraordinarily impressed by our Contractor C.C. Brun Enterprise’s skills and their great efforts.
In particular, I think it's amazing to watch how accurately you follow the original time schedule. I would also like to thank the architectural firm Rørbæk & Møller and the engineering firm Alectia and also Anders Christian Gade (Acoustics) for your super good planning work which included some challenges," Torsten Dau said and continued:

Thanks to the Danish hearing aid industri
“The whole initiative was only possible because of the activities we have built up in advance as the Centre for Applied Hearing Research (CAHR). A Centre actually born and supported by our colleagues from all three Danish hearing aid companies Widex, Oticon and GN ReSound. So thanks to the Oticon Foundation and thanks to the three companies,” he said.

Solving the Cocktail Party Problem
“One might say that this project reflects the biggest challenge we work with. We are trying to solve what is called ‘The Cocktail Party Problem’. Many people have problems in their communication with other people especially in noisy environments, such as at a restaurant or a cafe, especially if the acoustics are annoying. In order to solve this problem, we need to create realistic conditions as in a cocktail party or a restaurant.
We are therefore creating an audiovisual laboratory with many speakers and a giant screen around us which simulates a virtual world that we can use to evaluate and test our modern hearing aids in a very systematic and controllable manner. So this becomes quite exciting. Thanks again for your great effort on this project and for being here today.”

A fantastic collaboration
Terkel Jespersen, Project Manager DTU Campus Service also joined in:
“I have rarely experienced a process that has happened so smoothly” he said.
Jan Stysiek, Construction Director at C.C. Brun Enterprise agreed. He congratulated the Client DTU and researchers with the new facilities and in particular acknowledged the good collaboration between the Client DTU Campus Service, architects, engineers, subcontractors and construction workers.

The history of topping out ceremonies
Jan Stysiek used the opportunity to tell why you put a wreath on the roof when holding topping-out ceremonies:
In the old days it was thought that the construction project's success was more dependent on the gods' mood than on the skills of the construction workers. In order to please the gods and to drive evil spirits away, one used to put plants onto the roof, plants that you thought were occupied by good spirits and the good energy from these plants could spread out through the whole building. Later on, the topping-out ceremony has become an indication that there is no longer a risk of the walls collapsing and the wreath is placed on the top of the building to make the neighbors aware of the happy event.

The laboratories are expected to be finished in October 2014 and are built in connection with the establishment of the Oticon Centre of Excellence for Hearing and Speech Sciences (CHeSS). The research focus of the new centre is on fundamental aspects of hearing research. One of the new labs is an audiovisual immersion lab where we will be able simulate both visual and acoustic cues of different rooms and spaces. With this system, it will be possible to examine fundamental questions regarding the interaction of spatial hearing and the integration of audiovisual stimuli and the impact this has on listening in complex, real-world situations. Over the first five years, the centre will support 8 PhD students and 4 postdocs. 
Illustration Rørbæk & Møller