Date 2021/09/14 15:19:56 by ARCA UNLIMITED ARCHITECTS

2021-08 Acoustic Intervention Project

ARCA was contacted by an Automotive Industry Manufacturer to help with a retrofit solution for an existing space. The space is an audit bay which is an area on the Plant where vehicles freshly manufactured get randomly selected to audit for quality. The area is a pristine white box with high lux levels to be able to spot imperfections. All surfaces, walls, floors, and ceilings were hard and/or reflective surfaces such as epoxy floors, plastered walls, shopfronts, and non-acoustic ceiling tiles. The space looked great, but they were hardly able to use it because of the echoing issues. A typical day in the audit bay would entail a presentation to peers and directors on the raised platform and thereafter in-depth investigations per vehicle. None of these activities were pleasant and eventually, the people avoided going into the space. The solution was simple. It was an absorption issue that could easily be resolved. All the hard surfaces meant that sound was reflecting, and reverberation time was not long enough. This caused a buildup of noise in the space which made it unbearable. With the help of Saint Gobain Ecophon, we did a calculation of the existing areas and measured the reverberation time T20 (s), speech clarity (dB), and Strength G (dB). We did the same exercise for “after” the proposed acoustic intervention and found that there were several solutions to introduce in a phased approach to solve the problem, such as introducing suspended ceiling panels, acoustic wall panels (phase 2), and acoustic ceilings in the presentation area. We were amazed at how little intervention of each of these acoustic additions was required to make a tangible difference to the naked ear. The result was a threefold solution: - ARCA introduced 3 to 4 suspended Ecophon Solo panels (1200x1200) over each audit bay. This blended in well aesthetically with the pristine white audit bay and technically allowed the sprinkler system to still be effective. - We added Ecophon Solo panels at random into the vehicle driveway which not only furthered the acoustic absorption but also increased legibility into the space by highlighting where to drive. - Lastly, we installed Ecophon Wall Panels (cut to size for proportion) and covered these with corporate lifestyle graphics. - We didn’t need to install Rigitone (acoustic ceilings) in the presentation area because the acoustics of the room were performing above expectation. These interventions took acoustic readings from 1.0 to less than 0.6 in the small room which had the most echo issues. This project was proof that with very little intervention we were able to make a space usable and the short installation time was an operational bonus for the client. More often than not, clients refrain from installing acoustic materials during construction because of the so-called cost implication. However, we have seen firsthand in many client spaces (not only this one) what the actual cost is of not attending to acoustic problems – empty and unusable spaces.