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AudioAcoustics

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Apr 10, 2008

While desperately tying to avoid doing actual work, I discovered that MIT has been busy adding student theses to their library website.

Some notable student works (scroll down on the linked pages to find PDF links):


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NPR’s All Things Considered ran a segment on noisy restaurants yesterday. The story was a follow-up to Tom Sietsema’s No Appetite for Noise piece in the Washington Post.

The piece covers familiar ground, but more publicity is always good.

I was a little bothered by the lack of discussion of the role that acoustical experts can play in restaurant design. Take this quote for example:

[Architect Griz Dwight]’s trickiest assignment so far was revamping Black’s Bar and Kitchen in Bethesda. Only after a glass-wrapped wine room was in place and a room-length, glass-fronted mural was hung, did Dwight discover that their angles and surfaces bounced noise from one to the other, an effect known as slap-back. To catch the excess sound, the architect hung four box-shaped acoustical panels wrapped in fabric. The design, he half-jokes, is “ninety-nine percent functional, one percent decorative.” With a sound level registering about 77 decibels on a weeknight, however, patrons still have to raise their voices.

The soundscape design was left to the architect with unfortunate results. How much did the project owner have to pay for that retrofit? How much business did the restaurant lose because of the noise, construction and/or delayed opening? And how much money could have been saved in the owner had hired an acoustical expert at the start of the project?


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