Acoustic micro-architectures in office design and refurbishment

"Silence is the element in which all great things are formed".

Thomas Carlyle

New ways of working and the growing concern for the well-being of workers have led to an increased interest in acoustic studies in office design and refurbishment. Such studies should cover both external and internal noise:

  • External noise: It is advisable to analyse the sources of noise, its transmission (airborne or by vibration) and the measures to dampen it (sound barriers, partitions, double partitions and screens, door sashes, etc.).
  • Internal noise: Its study must take into account the type of work and its capacity, the volume in which it is carried out and the materials of which the furniture and the room coverings are composed.

New office space design and refurbishment projects focus on ways of working based on Lean and Agile methodologies that require spaces in which to work collaboratively on projects. Communication spaces, both external and internal, where knowledge and experiences can be shared with clients, suppliers and colleagues, are also increasingly desirable. Finally, people need private concentration spaces in which they can develop personal work.

Collaborative and communication spaces require very particular acoustic conditions that we will discuss in future posts, focusing this one on microarchitectures as an alternative to concentration and privacy spaces.

These spaces are made up of mobile elements that generate spaces within larger spaces and at the same time function as a decorative element in the office. Among them we can find:

  • Phone Booth: These are sound-isolating spaces, more or less closed, designed to absorb the noise emitted in a telephone conversation and attenuate the background noise in the workspace. There are a multitude of alternatives ranging from wall-mounted panels to real booths with lighting and ventilation.
  • Concentration rooms: These are concentration spaces in which the user is isolated from outside noise. They are intended for occasional use and do not constitute a fixed workstation.
  • Meeting points: These are meeting spaces for a limited number of people (two to four). Meeting points have different degrees of permeability of the space depending on the type of meeting to be held. Thus, there are sofas, cubicles and even closed cubes.

These micro-architectures can be complemented with other types of sound-absorbing elements to achieve acoustic comfort in the office, which we will expand on in detail in future posts.

At Antana we study the client's needs and advise them on the design and installation of this type of elements with the aim of improving people's comfort and favouring their productivity within their work spaces.

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