Architects and Interior designers have a responsibility
to design functional and safe environments. It is very difficult,
if not impossible to meet these goals without considering acoustics.
Acoustics is essential to the functioning of almost every type of
environment, from open offices to worship centers. Some environments
can even become dangerously loud and unsafe for the occupants. In
order to effectively address these issues, acoustics should be considered
in the design phase. If your space does
not meet the needs of the end user or is found to be unsafe, you could
be held liable, and worst yet, you could be putting people in danger.
Make sure that your next design project is designed responsibly:
Responsible Design Checklist
Strive for maximum functionality
Do you want your space to function? If a space is not functional,
it fails. Virtually every space demands acoustic attention in order
to function for its specified purpose. Think about it... Do people
need to hear what is being said, or do they need confidentiality or
privacy? Are you creating a quiet, contemplative space, or is your
"active" space so loud it is no longer healthy? Is there music or
a PA system? Whatever the desired environment, a successful outcome
is contingent upon acoustics.
Design for optimal efficiency and productivity
Are you considering human efficiency? For most companies, people are
their most valuable resource. A poor acoustic environment is the most
significant inhibitor to productivity. Accounting for acoustics will
help reduce noise-induced stress and create a comfortable, efficient
Protect the health and safety of end-users
Did you know hearing loss from noise exposure is one of the most common
occupational hazards …and is 100% preventable? Employees that suffer
from hearing loss are 55% more likely to have a workplace accident.
Non-auditory effects of noise include headaches, tinnitus, high blood
pressure, heart problems, respiratory ailments and many others.
Ensure a comfortable space
Can you sleep, relax or even work efficiently if you are not comfortable?
Few people are comfortable in a space with poor acoustics, even though
some might not be able to pinpoint the source of their discomfort.
Allow your end-users to experience true acoustic comfort in the spaces
you design. They will appreciate it, even though they might not consciously
notice the difference. Noise can cause irritation, annoyance, anxiety,
anti-social behavior, hostility and violence.
Are you concerned that acoustic materials may compromise the aesthetics
of your space? You can have any look you desire with acoustic products
- metal, wood, mirrored, plaster, stone, tile, drywall. You don't
have to compromise the aesthetics of your project if you consider
acoustics in the design phase. Waiting until after construction to
"fix" acoustic problems limits your options.
Are you aware of the effect that your project may have on the environment?
Acoustics is an integral part of sustainable design. People are a
valuable resource and their efficiency, comfort and productivity are
effected by the acoustic environment. Designing to meet the acoustic
needs will increase the sustainability of your structure or space.
Avoid excessive noise pollution. Be responsible and reduce the negative
impacts to our world.