Why architectural acoustics are crucial in any building

Architectural acoustics, fundamentally, is the relationship between a sound produced in a space and its listeners. But it can be so much more than that!

 Sound and its interaction with the world around us is what for most of us, when combined with what we see, defines our perception of the space which we exist in at any given time. Sound is a conscious sense that has been utilised by almost every species that has ever walked the earth, and its importance in today’s society is just as critical as it was all of those years ago.

Architecture has always relied on sound to marry a sense of purpose to a building, auditoriums need to be enveloping and encourage learning with clear dictation built into their design, the amphitheatres of ancient Rome needed to resonate with excitement and power, churches need to feel sanctimonious &  intimate and parks need to feel calm and separate from the bustle of the busy streets just meters away. 

Architects have always been very conscious of what an inhabitant of a space can see, and what they can hear, in order to ultimately entice how a building can make somebody feel.

CorkBee Line feature wall in a meeting room


When architects collaborate with acoustic consultants, the end result is a project with a clear purpose and function that can be both beautiful and committed to its duty. We as acoustic consultants revel in the challenges we have to overcome and the new materials that we get to work with, all with the objective of helping a building obtain its purpose.

When approaching acoustic engineering and its role within architecture we begin by focusing on the acoustic properties of the current spatial design. This allows us to understand and improve aspects of it, such as speech intelligibility, high levels of reverberation and unnecessary noise transmission.

Acoustic consultancy, much like architecture is a scientific practice, relying on modelling, calculations, and expert insight. Acoustic consultants are generally trained in aspects of physics, mathematics and understand certain material sciences. 

In this article, we will give you an overview of architectural acoustics and why it is essential when designing any building that exists within the world we inhabit. 

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Why are architectural acoustics important?

As acoustic consultants, we want to share our knowledge with architects and developers, with the main aim to improve the current mindset concerning acoustics to one of significance in architectural design.

If you are hearing sound, then you are interacting with acoustics. 

Sound is everywhere, in every space you walk into, in every room, office, or home. It’s a small thing you don’t consider, nonetheless, it is expected to be right and high quality. In the same way, you expect that every door you wish to open will have a door handle.

When it comes to architecture, acoustic considerations should be made at the beginning stages of a design. Sound is projected around the rooms we live, work and dwell in, and can provide benefits to it. If wrong, they can also completely ruin a building. 

Fabric Wall concept in glass meeting rooms
Fabric Wall in glass meeting rooms adds a colourful and stylish finish over a noise transmission barrier designed to stop sound leaking into the adjoining rooms

We talk to a lot of clients where acoustics are an afterthought for them, and it’s got them into a lot of difficulties to then have to retrofit acoustic treatment to just get the sound in a space up to standard. Considering the acoustic needs of a building at the start of the planning process can help save projects time and money.

Adopting this approach will also allow you, as the designer, to specify an acoustic treatment that compliments the aesthetic of a room or environment. Why not choose an option that not only improves acoustics, but one that facilitates visual intrigue, too?

How architectural acoustics can benefit a space?

Positive architectural acoustics can benefit people’s health, wellbeing and overall quality of life. Many studies are published each year that highlight how poor acoustics and noise disturbance can negatively impact people, especially in spaces in which they learn or work in.

However, implementing acoustic treatment can do more than just improve the sound and quality of a location.

Acoustic products can be beautiful, adding value to an environment in terms of sound and aesthetics. We believe acoustic treatment should be an asset to a space, not just a functional piece. 

When acoustics are NOT an afterthought, you can create an environment that uses acoustics to its advantage, making it a point of interest.

Conclusion

Absorbing unwanted sound and blocking out noise disturbance is the first step to improving architectural acoustics in a space. However, flipping the philosophy of acoustics on its head you can start to build design-led high-quality acoustic environments.

In our following series of blogs on architectural acoustics, we will highlight how architects can implement acoustics into their project for the benefit of the sound of the space, as well as the design. Stay tuned to learn more!

If you are an architect or developer looking to achieve an improved acoustic environment in your next building project, then turning to Sound Zero for guidance and collaboration is the perfect option.

Our team of acoustic consultants is available to discuss your architectural acoustics needs to ensure you select the right acoustic treatment for the space you are working on. We have a range of products that can be completely customised to your colour, size, fabric, and other product requests.

Please do not hesitate to contact us today to go over our bespoke design-led acoustic solutions that can transform your architectural projects.

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Speak to us about improving your acoustic environment

If you’d like to talk to one of our experts, either give us a call on 020 3984 2000, email us info@sound-zero.com or fill out the form and we'll get back to you ASAP.