Acoustics is the science of sound. Architectural acoustics deals with the construction of enclosed areas with enhanced audibility of speech, music or sound. It is the branch of architecture that deals with the control of sound showcasing the reflective, receptive and absorptive properties of sound.
We can term Architectural acoustics as both an art and science. A proper balance between sound-absorbing and sound-reflective materials enhances the quality of sound in any environment and gives the experience of pleasure. Material used for ceilings, walls, floors and roofs play a major role in achieving this balance. Soft materials absorb sound where as hard materials reflect sound.
Sound behaves differently in large halls or auditoriums when it is empty, or with furniture or when crowded with people. Hence it necessitates the study of properties of various building materials to ensure selection of right materials to achieve good acoustics all around the space.
A few objectives of study of architectural acoustics are listed here:
- Determining various uses of different building materials
- Precisely ascertain the type of material to be used to achieve desired sound level within the given space.
- To identify wide variety of materials available.
- To achieve maximum reduction of noise and the best sound experience and pleasure.
Components of building that affect the quality of sound:
- Walls: Walls are usually built with harder substances that reflect sound or noise.
- Floors: Floors again are generally made of hard materials like stone, concrete, tiles and timber or wood.
- Ceilings and roofs: Overhead surface of a building or room – internal and external – can be flat, curved or beamed. These are made of various materials depending on need and aesthetic expectations.
Different materials respond differently to sound and offer different acoustic results. Surface of inner walls can be modified to reduce reflection of sound by using sound absorbing or sound refracting materials.
A carpet on the floor with underlay can help absorb sound to some extent. Similarly, fibre glass wool padded tiles on the wall and ceilings also help control reflection of sound. Sound absorption coefficient of various materials are different and affect the reverberation levels differently.
Materials that help control acoustic coefficient are:
- Gypsum acoustical panels
- Perforated acoustical tiles
- Fabric faced acoustical panels
- Grooved acoustical panels
- Fibre glass Padded acoustical panels
Architectural acoustics aims at enhancing intelligibility of speech and reduction in reflection of sound to achieve optimum sound quality.
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