THE ART OF ARCHITECTURAL ACOUSTICS
I believe architecture has a profound effect on how we live, think, and most importantly, our state of mind. Keenly looking at the design and structure of different facilities, you begin to understand just how important architecture is not only for visual satisfaction you get staring but how wholesome it feels within those spaces. A library’s design is essential both for the storage of literature, as well as providing the right kind of ambiance to focus and read—the same works for hospitals, holiday resorts, religious spaces, nightclubs, homes, and more.
I’m addicted to Kirsten Dirksen’s Channel; there’s so much you can learn about self-sufficient architecture from different cultural perspectives around the world. You begin to understand just how real your imagination can get when you finally decide to implement your dreams. Watching more than 1000 minutes of footage on her channel, I learned there’s so much more that goes into designing an architecturally sound structure to get those breathtaking views and spaces.
Last evening talking to my younger brother Jeff (a real gadget and gizmos nerd) about gadgetry, part of our conversation was about the current OLED tech to the latest in sound technology- Dolby Atmos. The last thing he said before concluding our discussion was, “bro, the sound has evolved, it isn’t what it used to be half a decade ago, you need to catch-up.” This really hit a chord because I enjoy music, I spent the better part of my evening thinking about sound and architecture, do they consider acoustics during the design process?
There are two main ways in which architects can manipulate the sound of space, and this is through passive and active acoustics.
Passive acoustics are the kind of materials you can find in a particular space; these include the; paddings, plastered walls or wooden floors. Materials such as drapery or even carpeting will generally absorb sound, but materials such as porcelain or glass will make your room echoey.
Active acoustics, on the other hand, are sound technologies that can be used to minimize or maximize sounds in a particular space, meaning the sonic control that they possess can be variable, dynamic, and quite dramatic.
According to architectural design, acoustics need to be well thought out and coordinated to offer the maximum effects desired. Therefore, the sound spectrum needs to remain clear without any portions missing or distorted. An Acoustics and Sound Systems in Architectural Design study discovered acousticians need to ensure that they are part of the design team from the onset of the project. This particular study describes that it is vital to avoid overlaying sound waves that are meant to project into an open space since this kind of meddling is what disrupts the sound spectrum.
Tips to Improve Acoustic Architecture
In case you are wondering how you can improve on these, here are seven design tips that can be used to ensure that you attain the very best of architectural acoustics that can be used in any given space. These values are some of the most useful ideas within architectural acoustics and, if implemented well, will help achieve the best results.
- Sound reflections- When you are carrying out an architectural acoustic project, you must check for sound reflections. Take note that vertical surfaces will generally reflect the sound to the center, making sound clarity muddy.
- Acoustical treatment- Different types of materials will absorb sound differently. Therefore, you need to ensure that your acoustical treatments are absorbing the desired frequencies.
- Echoes- No one fancies echoes, and it’s advisable to diminish them when necessary. It’s also essential to note sounds that are traveling within 30 milliseconds from each other are perceived without echo, while sounds that are traveling after 30 milliseconds thresholds will become echoes of the original sound.
- Control noise- Avoid letting other buildings or structures noise from getting in the way. Controlling noise is vital, therefore check for HVAC systems, and ensure that their noises are at a minimum.
- Obstructions- Ensure there are no obstructions in the way. Objects that are directly on the sound path will block and obstruct high-frequency sounds. Low-frequency sounds can bend and get their way around objects.
- Pattern control- Ensure that the sound systems that are installed in the rooms get good coverage. This will generally prevent getting feedback or other sound distortions.
- Distribute sound systems- For out of the way kind of listening areas, ensure that you have distributed sound systems, such systems typically operate with a delay so that the sound produced can match and synchronize.
Your architectural functions must be in line with the architectural acoustics of your project. It can be very annoying if your TV sound is distracted by your HVAC noise. That simple sound distortion can make for a very uncomfortable experience, and especially in a hospital or hotel situation.