Posted September 8th, 2014 by Christy Serafini
Acoustics is an essential feature of architecture, since it governs the quality of sound. For instance, a great acoustical design makes it easy to clearly hear what a lecturer is saying in the classroom, or have uninterrupted sleep in one’s room by suppressing noise. Architectural acoustics is considered a branch of acoustical engineering, and companies today provide materials to achieve the best sound possible within a building with aluminum and wood ceiling systems.
American physicist Wallace Sabine is credited with founding the field of modern architectural acoustics. In 1895, while a professor at Harvard University, he was faced with the task of acoustically improving the recently constructed Fogg Museum, the first of its kind in the institution. Within the next three years, Sabine was able to conclude that there is a relationship between the quality of the acoustics, the size of the chamber, and the amount of available absorption surface. From this discovery, Sabine came up with reverberation time, which still remains as the most essential factor used to measure the acoustical quality of a room. The sabin, the unit of sound absorption used in calculating reverberation time, is named after him. Today, wood ceiling systems are one of the most popular options for commercial acoustics.
Sabine was the acoustic architect of the Symphony Hall in Boston, which the National Historic Landmarks Program of the National Park Service ranks as one of the three best concert halls in the world in terms of acoustics. Architectural acoustics is still an important factor in the construction of concert halls, as well as recording studios. With more attention paid to the acoustics, the quality of music produced is enhanced. People can hear all the details and subtleties of what is being performed or played—from cymbals and woodblocks to vocals and bass lines. Application goes beyond performance and recording venues, however. In hospitals, for instance, hard tiles and ceilings can be replaced with sound absorbing material to make it easier for staff members to hear crucial information. The reduction of intrusive noises like beeps and alarms can help patients rest and recover, while reducing the stress levels of the staff. Other key applications include schools, industrial complexes, and corporate buildings.
Common material used for sound absorption in buildings include aluminum and wood, which are used to create architectural ceiling systems. One of the foremost architectural acoustics companies is Ceiling Plus. Based in Los Angeles, California, Ceilings Plus—true to its name—produces acoustical wood and aluminum for ceilings. The company also provides sound absorbing materials for walls and column covers. Ceilings Plus products are known for their high noise reduction coefficients, at up to 0.95 out of a possible maximum score of 1.
More than just sound absorbing material, Ceiling Plus’ acoustical aluminum and wood is designed for optimal application and aesthetic feel. Created entirely from 3-D data and technology, the ceiling systems are available in five finishes: ultra-sorb white, ultra-sorb black, ultra-woven acoustical fabric gray, ultra-woven acoustical fabric natural, and ultra-woven acoustical fabric black. Ceiling insulation is available in six perforation choices, as well as two- or three-dimensional curves. Ceiling Plus products are available from Wade Architectural Systems. Based in Houston, Texas, Wade Architectural Systems has been involved in thousands of projects that include concert halls, fire stations, libraries, campus buildings, conference centers, and hospitals.