Ky When designing a building, the architect and interior designer must recognize potential noise problems and take steps to solve them. The acoustic design of the building should be integrated with other architectural requirements. By carefully planning the building's siting and structure, the architect can reduce noise penetration into the building. The overall building design and function ought to be reviewed in terms of desirable acoustic qualities. Noise sources should be placed as far as possible from quiet areas. The internal acoustics of individual rooms must be reviewed. For special acoustic issues, an acoustic consultant should be brought into the process at the earliest possible time.
By limiting sources of noise, the amount of necessary acoustic treatment can be reduced. When designing for an existing building, the architect and interior designer must first define the character of the sound problem. For new buildings, they have to imagine what noise sources can be anticipated. All parts of the building and its surfaces are potential paths for sound travel. The design team can compare the costs and coordinate the work of the construction trades to get the most cost effective combination of modified sound sources and acoustic treatments.
Acoustic consultants are most commonly called in for buildings where loud noise is a special problem, or where the quality of interior sound is critical. Opera houses and concert halls, as well as theaters and places of worship, have essential acoustic criteria. Educational classrooms, lecture halls, libraries, and music practice rooms benefit greatly from good acoustic design. All types of residential structures, including apartment buildings, hotels, and multifamily and single-family residences, are improved by sensitivity to acoustic problems. Airports and other transportation structures need to block noise from outside, and athletic buildings and sports stadiums should control the noise produced within. Other commercial and industrial buildings also benefit from the expertise of an acoustic designer.
Acoustic consultants play a role in selection of materials and the detail of construction components. They also influence the selection and use of interior surface materials. Their work has direct implications for the interior designer. Acoustic consultants also design and specify sound and communications systems, and detail components for noise and vibration controls in mechanical systems.
Ongoing interdisciplinary research in architecture, neuroscience, psychology, music, theater, engineering, speech, and other fields is developing methods to evaluate, model, predict, and simulate the acoustic qualities of a building. These methods should soon be available for evaluating specific rooms within the building through acoustic modeling and aural simulation. New materials are being developed to diffuse sound in predictable ways.
Modern instrumentation and extensive testing of building materials and construction details are giving us better information on their ability to block sound transmission. New methods for testing noise from impacts on flooring systems are also being developed. Studies of how to reduce plumbing system noise are underway. Duct linings, which reduce heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system noise, are being studied for their effect on health. The acoustic qualities of air-conditioning noise are being studied to refine the design criteria for acceptable equipment noise. Advances in sound system components and design continue to improve quality while in many cases reducing the size of equipment.
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