Friday, July 29, 2011

Indoor acoustics: what do they teach?

What do they teach residential architects and designers about acoustics and noise? I mean inside noise, entertaining noise, party noise.


When Reggie talks, people listen - if the acoustics are good.

I walked into a kitchen and couldn't hear a thing.
JoAnn and I went to shower at a wonderful 1920's bungalow. We headed for the kitchen. It was beautiful. They'd just finished a kitchen re-do that belongs in a magazine. It was big, and comfortable There 10 folks in there and room for 25.

Inside though, I couldn't "hear" a female voice even when she stood right in front of me. I doubt it's a problem in ordinary family use. But it got me thinking.

P1130273-2011-07-28-Klimchak-at-Balzer-Theater-at-Herrens-Pre-show
Professionals plan acoustics for theaters. Last night the Balzer Theater was a sanctuary. The conversation and Klimchak's music were delightful.

But do acoustic engineers deal with houses? Do they teach acoustics in design school?

P1120968-2011-07-21-Atlanta-Diversity-Mixer-AABJ-and-AAJA
The westside Sky Bar at 5 Seasons Brewing Company is spectacular but I can't take it inside.

My children warn me about loud places. For them a loud place is likely a fun place. But they know how it affects me.

I expect unpleasant noise in bars and restaurants but not in a house.

P1120186-2011-07-04-July-4th-party-indoors-during-storm
So it made me think about our 4th party. There were more than 50 folks in there and yet I could hear. Was it planned or was it a fortunate accident? Was it the sloped ceiling, the stairs, the angles, the "L's?"

P1120219-2011-07-04-July-4th-Kitchen-Conversation-KK
Can you have this conversation with 40 folks in the room? I hope so.

34 comments:

  1. Interesting post! I find it soooooo obvious when a restaurant has poorly designed acoustics (or even more likely, acoustics were not considered). So many designers specialize in one thing and do not necessarily account for another. I guess every profession is like that. Thanks for the post, Terry!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I read somewhere recently that noise is restaurants is intentional in many cases - it creates the "buzz". I also read that the noisier a restaurant the more alcohol is sold. The more soft surfaces there are in a space - draperies, carpets, upholstery etc - the more sound is absorbed. That kitchen you mention possibly had a dishtowel as its only soft surface and all other surfaces were hard and therefore not at all sound-absorbent.

    Noise drives me nuts!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I always thought restaurants intentionally made it loud so people wouldn't stay very long. I can't handle loud noises for long periods of time. It's very annoying when it's unexpected and somewhere you'd like to stay longer but can't handle it anymore and have to leave.

    ReplyDelete
  4. First, love the gatherings in your home, always look forward to those. Secondly, there is a restaurant in Atlanta I can't stand to go to, fab food, fab atmosphere, but it is so loud that people talk louder and I promise you I literally can't hear myself think much less conversation. If a guy ever decided to propose there he better think twice. lol - great post

    ReplyDelete
  5. open spaces have pros and cons, and that's one of them. More soft surfaces help allot...drapes, upholstery, even walls. Designers are trained to design spaces that encourage both, depending on the situation. You are right, the more angles, teh more bouncing of sound...those flat ceiling acoustic panels work really well, but not that attractive yet. Tough trying to get away with cookies and milk in the middle of the night!!!

    Hope you are well...your parties look like fun!!

    Best,
    Michelle

    ReplyDelete
  6. Michelle, the folks who come to our parties are fun, that's for sure.

    ReplyDelete
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