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Architectural Acoustics

Acoustics really is a complicated subject. Many of our recommendations need to be formed on a case-by-case basis, and some of that advice is based on principles that are not very intuitive. So here is a short list of common acoustical misconceptions: Acoustical Misconception # 1. Acoustical design is only relevant for specialized projects! Acoustical […]




Walk outside on a cold winter day just after the first big snowfall and you can hear the hush in the air. Everything sounds different because that hush in the air is the snow absorbing sound. Now, compare that to walking into a gym where the sound bounces around and lingers in the room. Also, […]




The other day at a popular chain restaurant, I dropped by the restroom before a long ride home. I’ve heard some loud toilet flushes in my day, and this one was right up there with the loudest of them. While it caught my attention, it didn’t make me jump too high out of surprise. However, […]




The National Council of Acoustical Consultants (NCAC) is the only North American organization fully devoted to certifying the credentials of acoustical consultants. Kenric Van Wyk, President of Acoustics By Design, was elected to the NCAC Board of Directors in 2006.  He has served as the Vice President of Finance, and in 2011 was elected as […]




I recently received a call from a pastor asking how to enhance their congregational singing. The church had recently inherited a new building, and the pastor was concerned that the congregational singing was just not “what it should be”. The band was great, and they rocked the place out. But the congregation was feeling a […]




I admit that I like working in a niche field. I especially like the reactions of people who ask me what I do for a living and have never heard of an acoustics engineer. They find it amazing that someone does this type of work, or they start asking questions or making comments about some […]




The orchestra that I play in used to perform at local public schools. The high school auditoria that we regularly used were so-so for acoustics, but we learned to appreciate them when a scheduling conflict bumped us to a junior high school for one concert. This auditorium ceiling was treated with a spray-on absorbing material […]




The LEED® green building certification program gives out points for naturally ventilating buildings, and it also gives out points for acoustics – especially for low levels of background noise levels. As the industry is finding out, naturally ventilated buildings create more opportunities for buildings to be penetrated by exterior noises, thus creating unintended loud background […]




This is a fictional video we made to illustrate the many problems of acoustics, noise, and vibration in modern healthcare facilities. It shows why hospitals and health care facilities need acoustical engineers. © Acoustics By Design. If you’ve ever been a patient in a hospital, or been to a hospital as a visitor, you’ll likely […]




On a beautiful autumn day a long time ago, I was on a glorious backpacking trip to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. One still morning while rinsing off in Little Beaver Lake, I was alarmed to hear voices that sounded very near, as I was sporting my birthday suit. After quickly sinking […]




Church video venues are popping up everywhere. For many churches, they have become the go-to solution for solving the growth “problem”, which of course is a good problem to have. Church video venues are great for a number of reasons: they can offer an alternative worship music experience, they can keep a church unified by […]




With only one stop left on our Midwest Tour, Sound Healthcare 2010 has already been presented to over 450 architects, engineers, designers, and healthcare professionals. But along the way something unexpected has been happening: people all across the country have been contacting us about attending the tour (which is a good problem to have). Some […]




Henry Ford’s dream for a “hotel for sick people” comes to fruition with the 2009 opening of the Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. The hospital is designed with a comprehensive approach to acoustics including noise isolation, speech privacy, room acoustics, HVAC noise control, and community noise control. © 2010, Acoustics By Design. This new hospital […]




Several weeks ago, a client invited me to a rehearsal in their highly reverberant space that ABD was hired to test and correct. I declined, as I already had plans to attend a play that evening at a different facility, and joked that during the performance I’d also be listening to sirens from the main […]




In the days of the ancient Romans, crowds would gather by the thousands in the amphitheater to see a wide range of events: public ceremonies honoring brave soldiers, performances of dramatic presentations, or the gruesome games of the gladiators. Although the events were a visual extravaganza, the amphitheater and coliseum were also designed acoustically to […]




If you can’t see the video, CLICK HERE. The Grand Rapids Art Museum has the honor of being the world’s first LEED Certified art museum. Achieving the LEED Gold level of certification means it’s designed with state of the art energy efficiency and environmental awareness. Low water use, natural day-lighting, and optimized acoustics give the […]




Acoustics By Design has been selected for a 2009 “Best of” Award in the Acoustical Engineering category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA). The “Best of Local Business” Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community […]




Whether you’re a fan or not, Obama’s economic stimulus package passed recently, opening the door to gobs of government money (ie: your tax dollars at work) being pumped into the economy. So where do acoustics fit into the puzzle? Well, they’re becoming a key piece. To use an analogy from the car industry, acoustical design […]




The LEED Green Building Rating SystemTM is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. LEED was created by the U.S. Green Building Council to define “green building” through a common standard, and to promote integrated, whole-building design practices. There are several categories of LEED building certification programs including: LEED for New Construction, […]




“…You can’t handle the truth!” If you’re a movie fan, then you probably recognize this line from the 1992 blockbuster, A Few Good Men. Of course, Nathan R. Jessep (Jack Nicholson) delivered the line in response to Lt. Daniel Kaffee’s (Tom Cruise) questioning in that tense courtroom scene. But in the real world, what happens when […]




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