When it comes to a construction project with so many elements to consider, it is often easy to forget to build for the ears as well as the eyes.
Let’s discuss how architects can get acoustic architecture right…
Considering acoustics into your designs is no longer a luxury afforded to high end projects, it has become a necessity that has far reaching impacts on projects of all sizes and types. So how can architects get acoustic architecture right?
Have you ever been in a busy restaurant and found yourself struggling to hear the friend opposite you? Therein lies the importance of acoustics.
With so many components making up the project, it can be overwhelming to even consider where to begin to incorporate acoustic considerations, but with the help of our top tips you can be on your way to achieving your acoustic dreams.
Consider your architectural acoustics right from the start.
Taking acoustics into consideration from the beginning not only allows you to blend beauty and functionality from the outset, but fixing the acoustics of a building once it has been completed is vastly more costly later down the line.
Achieving your desired acoustics dictates which materials you can use and where, so settling on materials that will work to achieve your all-round goals from the outset is detrimental.
Take time to think about who the building will be used by, and for what. Doing so not only enables you to hit your brief spot on, but improves the overall user experience and functionality of your space.
Remember the architectural acoustic regulations!
With more studies being conducted on the impacts of noise pollution and disturbance on health and wellbeing, it is more important than ever to be up to date on all of the latest regulations. Knowing your legal boundaries and targets will save you the legal stress and money, as changing your project later on can be costly.
58% of people say noise has a high impact on their stress levels in the work place. These numbers are staggeringly high and highlight the importance of an acoustic first approach.
When it comes to architectural acoustics, it is all about location, location, location.
Consider where your acoustic panels will be situated in your design. You may, quite literally have all the gear and no idea if you do not position your materials properly, with all of your careful considerations down the drain. If you are unsure on where and how they should be placed, don’t be afraid to ask. A qualified acoustician will be able to assist you.
If a venue does require acoustic help, it will benefit greatly from the proper distribution of the various treatment materials. Bunching materials together on one wall or in a confined area is not usually productive, recommended nor cost effective.
Consider the three architectural acoustical tools and their properties.
Different materials can act to absorb, reflect and diffuse sound depending on how they interact with it.
Absorbent materials such as those with insulating properties can be used to soak up sound and are helpful in implementing in office or library environments, allowing the users to focus and maximise productivity.
Reflective surfaces are the most widely used, commonly applied into modern construction projects. Being the least expensive to purchase and install, they can often be spotted in modern builds filled with glass and metal surfaces. Whilst visually appealing, the acoustics of such buildings can often be loud and distracting, again showing how important it is to consider, from the outset, who will be using your building.
Diffusion can be more expensive than the other two options, but when applied properly can be extremely effective. By transforming a singular reflection into hundreds of mini reflections the acoustics of a room can be transformed into an end product that is not only aesthetically pleasing but enhances user experience audibly.
Applying acoustic treatment can feel like a shot in the dark, but it can transform your project, and ultimately, please your clients. With so many options and often so little prior knowledge, opting to utilise the skills of a qualified third-party from the outset can save you time, money, and worry.