A WELL balanced sound environment
When it comes to designing buildings, acoustics often take a back seat to other factors such as aesthetics and functionality. However, sound is a powerful feature that presents considerable opportunities in construction, architecture, and interior design. The acoustic environment of a building or a space can have a significant impact on its occupants’ wellbeing.
The impact of acoustics on building design
The WELL Building Standard recognizes this and has specific guidelines in place to promote acoustic comfort and reduce noise pollution in indoor spaces. The building standard takes into account both hard and soft values by considering both tangible and intangible metrics, taking a holistic approach to building design and management, and encouraging collaboration among stakeholders.
Adapting to the new demands of the post-pandemic workplace
As many people are now returning to the office after months of working from home, cooperations and facilities must adapt to new demands to attract and retain top talent in the competitive job market. The experience of remote work has led to new demands for working spaces. Employees now expect their workplace to be more flexible and accommodating, with an emphasis on health and well-being.
As an acoustic consultant, we see an increased demand in building certification systems and Well is one trending certification framework. A WELL certified building can provide a real estate developer with a competitive advantage by offering a healthier, more sustainable, and more desirable working environment that appeals to both tenants and investors.
Sound as a design tool
For WELL Building Standard some aspects we consider are building- and room acoustics as well as soundscaping. Building acoustics is about handling sound insulation and noise reduction, whereas the room acoustics deals with the quality of sound inside a room or space. It focuses on creating an optimal acoustic environment for speech, music, and other activities.
Soundscaping can involve intentional use of sound to enhance the experience or clarify the function of a particular space. Some examples are the selection of materials and design elements that absorb or reflect sound, the placement of sound-producing objects such as speakers or musical instruments, and the use of ambient sounds to create a specific mood or atmosphere.
In some cases, sound can also be considered as a tool to influence people’s behavior in a particular way e.g. promoting physical movement. While music for dancing seems most obvious, it’s important to consider how to promote activities natural for the function and space design, such as walkability, movement between floors etc. One example could be a fun or interactive sound installation in staircases that could inspire people to walk the stairs instead of taking the elevator. This way, sound and acoustics can be designed to fulfill several guidelines within the WELL framework.
As the Building Standards often origin from countries or parts of the world where acoustic standards and regulations are different from the Nordic countries, our legislation often ensure score or points in the more technical guidelines in the framework. At Efterklang we are well acquainted with the different certifications and we’re happy to advise on how to optimize acoustics and sound design.
Skanska: Designing functional, comfortable, and enjoyable spaces
When Skanska Öresund approached us, we were happy to share insights on acoustics and sound design. For their office buildings Epic and Aqua in Malmö, we have provided acoustic design that ensures a sound environment that fulfills the criteria of WELL Building Standard. By considering acoustics during the design process, Skanska were able to create spaces that are functional, comfortable, and enjoyable to use. Read more about the epic office space on the Epic project page. And for more information about the Aqua office building click here.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to discuss how to attain
- Less noise from installations and traffic
- Improved speech intelligibility
- Increased privacy and sound insulation
- Design a specific mood or atmosphere by adding a soundscaping
- Enhance expression and experience by sound design
- Better music or sound quality and distribution
- Space specific soundscaping
- Overall comfort
- Brand strengthening acoustics and sound
If you require guidance on acoustics and sound design as they relate to building certifications, please do not hesitate to get in touch s for a consultation.