How do we get there? By eliminating, suppressing, masking, and diffusing sound.
Effective soundscaping uses all four of these tools to design and deliver the sound experience you want, where you want it.
Eliminating sound is what we do when we are sound-proofing, creating sound-proof barriers and enclosures that completely stop sound from moving from outside to inside. We do this by carefully sealing off spaces. Specialized building materials and methods and HVAC solutions are needed at the planning stage of a build-out to completely eliminate unwanted sounds. Elimination is the most permanent and costly of the strategies a designer can use, and so the appropriate use of these techniques include places like theatres, large meeting halls, and conference rooms where cognition is essential and sensitive conversations must be contained, or to eliminate outside noises in urban settings, where quiet spaces are needed for places like hotels, libraries, schools, healthcare facilities, and residences.
Suppressing unwanted sound is a matter of making quiet exactly where it’s most needed. We do this most efficiently by providing surface types that absorb sound waves in those spaces. The amount of sound that can be managed through absorption is determined by the type, thickness, and surface area of the material. Porous materials are very efficient at stopping sound from bouncing back into a space or leaking between spaces. These materials can be installed on walls, ceilings, or floors, or used as screens, furniture, and features inside a space.