Blaine Brownell on how architects should redesign the workspace with sound as a priority instead of an afterthought.
One of the most significant realizations to emerge from the pandemic is the importance of acoustics. With many of us working or attending virtual classes at home, often in the same rooms as other family members, the lack of acoustic privacy has become a critical concern.
The problem is unlikely to disappear when employees return to the workplace. Even after a vaccine is successfully deployed en masse, we will continue using video conferencing because of its convenience and familiarity. Workplaces will be transformed into hybrid modality platforms with face-to face and remote communication: employees will engage in live-stream video conversations from all points in the work environment.
This phenomenon will be decidedly different from the telephone and in-person conversations of pre-COVID offices. Today’s video calls are more likely to be lengthy group meetings with extended periods of focused attention and less tolerance for distraction. Some of these exchanges can occur in acoustically isolated conference rooms, but more will take place in noisy open office environments, increasing the demand for acoustic control beyond what noise-canceling headphones and headset microphones can provide.
It’s a novel acoustic challenge for architects and designers and will require more sophisticated material strategies than conventional acoustic ceiling tiles, fabric panels, and carpet. Rather than treating acoustics as an afterthought by deploying mass-produced, sound-absorbing products, architects and designers will need to approach sound control as a multidimensional, space-shaping opportunity
Read on >>>> Source: The Acoustic Challenge of the Post-COVID 19 Office | Architect Magazine