CEILINGS, PARTITIONS AND BOARDS MULTIUSE, COMPLEX NEEDS Knauf AMF commercial director, Peter Symons, examines the acoustic ceiling requirements and aesthetic needs to consider when designing sophisticated multi-purpose buildings. The proliferation of multi-use developments is one response to the wants and needs of modern living, and is associated with the pressures on available space and land costs – especially in urban settings. One building can contain residential, retail, hotel, office, restaurant, leisure, healthcare and educational spaces. The particular sophisticated needs of these varied environments require a diverse range of acoustic ceiling and wall solutions. The Shard is a shining, high-profile, example of this multi-use style as it houses all of the above. Elsewhere, universities, schools and leisure centres are examples of multi-purpose buildings that offer spaces with varying activities, from communal recreation to quiet private areas, which are often serviced by food preparation and washroom facilities. For these discrete functions to work in harmony, interior design and acoustics must be tailored and comply with specific regulations. With diverse activities and processes taking place in adjacent spaces, control of the spread of 60 BUILDING PRODUCTS | DECEMBER 2017 noise is often cited as a challenge. Speech and the sound of people involved in various pursuits, can become an issue, making the need for acoustic control evermore significant. Acoustic ceilings are available as suspended ceilings, with concealed or exposed grids, or hung as rafts or baffles. They are manufactured in a range of materials and finishes including metal, wood and mineral fibre – with textured, smooth or monolithic surfaces in many shapes and any colour. They offer a myriad of design solutions, enabling architects to answer the brief whilst enjoying the freedom to add visual appeal to an interior. Auditoriums and lecture theatres have complex acoustic needs as they are designed for presentations of the human voice, acoustic and electronic music and other events. In the lecture theatre at Erasmus University, in the Netherlands (pictured above), an acoustic ceiling system ensures the correct balance of sound absorption and sound reflection to help ensure every audience member enjoys the same experience. There is movement in modern architecture towards the use of hard, reflective materials in large spaces like atriums. These areas are prone to high levels of reverberation with reflected sound bouncing off the many surfaces. A triple height studio runs through the core of the London HQ of a global advertising agency, its glass roof allowing light to fill the space. Acoustic ceiling fins help reduce reverberation times and provide solar shading, helping ensure the layout works. Ceiling baffles, fins and rafts offer versatility and are ideal for interiors fitted with hard surfaces or concrete soffits. Rafts can be positioned above potentially noisy areas to help improve speech intelligibility and create a pleasant atmosphere. The desired acoustic performance is achieved by varying the size and spacing of the baffles. A firm of architects needed a creative solution to help control noise levels in the busy dining hall of a multi-national corporate. Smooth, monolithic ceiling rafts were installed around the large room to absorb sound and minimise disturbance for diners. To add visual interest to the hall, the rafts are supported by tree-like wooden pods.
Building Products December 2017
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