Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sketch Series 5: Acoustic Analysis for Gatewood Building

Acoustical data was collected while class was not in session, but some students were in the area working.  All units are in decibels (dB).

The studio’s geometry determines the path the sound waves travel from the originated source, the buildings occupants, reverberate along the smooth surface of the concrete floor, ceiling and walls.  The glass around the perimeter of the building resonates absorbing significant amounts of low frequencies, but reflects the high frequencies back into the space.  Some of the sound is absorbed by the wood surfaces.  Some sound attenuates as it spreads without interruption.  In a reverberant field sound waves are multiplied and interwoven.

Control of unwanted sound reflection by changing acoustical energy into heat energy absorbed within the room’s contents, wall structure, and materials surfaces.  The content of the space controls the noise levels in the space while the building structure controls the transmission of the noise between the spaces.  In the library where there is plush carpeting, many books, and furnishings the sound is absorbed within the room’s boundaries.  The concrete cavities in the ceiling help to dissipate some of the sound waves and prevent them from travelling outside the room’s boundaries.  The studio spaces with their high ceilings and sparse furnishing have none of these controls so the sound is amplified.  Adding absorptive materials to a room changes the reverberating characteristics.  As the studio spaces fill up with student’s materials and projects the sound transmission is reduced.  The graduate offices of the art students have building materials and furnishings to reduce the sound attenuation.