Designing a modern office space? Be prepared to account for the acoustics! 
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Acoustics of the Modern Office Space

Office space in the modern age mimics the popular residential trend toward contemporary open concept models. Companies now more than ever want collaborative work space for their employees to be productive and inspire innovation. Many companies today are attracted to sleek and clean line of sight designs, multi-functional rooms and green building practices. While the open concept plan may gain traction with the idea of improved productivity, it comes with a heavy friction in the form of distraction from noise and other acoustic issues. The thought of unproductive productivity is an oxymoron to say the least. How can we create the open concept office space to increase productive collaboration and decrease the distraction? The answer lies within appropriate acoustic design.
In the traditional office setting, where high cubical walls and private offices ruled, so did speech privacy, and noise could also be mitigated with little effort. Today’s open concept office space requires the right design to encourage speech privacy, mask unwanted noise and promote confidential conversations. Implementing quiet zones with visible signage, choosing the right floorplan for collaborative workspace, and selecting the right barrier height and materials are all things that can contribute to a modern and efficient office. A good design controls direct sound, reflections, and flanking paths.
For private offices and meeting spaces, understanding the right walls and partitions to incorporate in the design is crucial in promoting confidential conversations and mitigating the noise of banter. Meeting rooms and teleconference rooms are popular choices to cut travel cost and increase efficiency. These rooms require their own set of acoustic standards that don’t just look at the wall assembly for stopping sound. It is critical that these spaces plan for speech intelligibility by incorporating the right materials that absorb sound energy in the appropriate places to control reflections.
With the modern trend of the open office plan, it is essential that the acoustic design of the space is thought of as being just as important as temperature, air quality, and lighting. Aural comfort and acoustic privacy don’t typically get thought about in the design stage of office spaces, but as with most things in life, the cost of fixing in the end is far more expensive than getting it right the first time.
Copyright © 2016 Arpeggio Acoustic Consulting LLC, All rights reserved.

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