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ACOUSTIC dESIGN

What are the benefits of defining and controlling sound energy within a space?  Through consulting and design of room acoustics, sound isolation, mechanical-electrical equipment noise and vibration control and environmental noise control, we help achieve spaces that effectively support engagement, interaction, performance, privacy and being a good neighbor.

How do you make a dome design work acoustically in a music space?

Bramall Music Building houses a 450-seat auditorium, music studios and a domed rehearsal room to support the University of Birmingham's strong music program. Acoustically our challenge was to address the wide diversity of music education and performance in the Music School. And with a dome as part of the original design--this was no small problem.  

 

Domes are notorious for their acoustical problems of focusing and whispering gallery effects.  We developed a dome diffuser which works on the same acoustic principal as balcony fronts in an opera house -- by scattering sound from the edges of a reflective panel.

For this dome, our studies showed that the reflected and scattered sound would arrive at the listener over a period 30ms or more -- rather than all at once as would happen with an untreated dome.

 

What happens when your corporate offices are being built in the flight path of a Naval Air Station?

One of the challenges with being close to an airport is that noise is transient.  The type of plane, direction of takeoff, and frequency of flyover events make a difference.  So, simply taking measurements once may not be sufficient to make good design decisions. And, while most airports have noise contours (basically, an average level), that doesn’t matter when you are in an office trying to make a phone call if you are doing it when the noise is decidedly above average--especially if that noise is a fighter jet from a Naval Air Station.

We often place noise level meters on sites for weeks at a time to be able to get a picture of the reality of peak noise.  Having accurate information means the client doesn’t have to spend more in construction than necessary to achieve a quiet building.

And that often means walking miles through pastures or hanging out on rooftops.

 

How do you design environmental noise mitigation for a project that hasn't been built yet?

Our clients are concerned about how noise propogates off the property line and also how noise penetrates the facade of surrounding buildings from mechanical plants, transportation noise, outdoor sound systems and other noise producing elements.

We use predictive modeling software to simulate real-world conditions and assess environmental noise sources and how they propogate across a property taking into consideration the topography, buildings and other factors.

Noise codes vary by state, county and city. We review the calculations against the codes, then work with our clients to develop noise mitigation solutions.