Designed by Snøhetta, the new timber office building for trekking and travel company ASI Reisen, situated in Natters, Austria, is inspired by a symbiosis between nature and humanity. Surrounded by a lush exterior, the four-storey structure combines timber frame construction with solid wooden elements to optimize material use and allow for the greatest amount of open floor plans.
Acoustics is a vital part of our everyday experience of the built environment; however, the role background sound plays in making these environments more comfortable for occupants is often overlooked. As a result, the misconception persists that acoustical dissatisfaction and lack of speech privacy can be resolved merely by limiting noise levels or blocking transmission.
As sensitivity to confidentiality heightens, specifiers must become more aware of the need to control sound within a space and isolate it between zones. Whether the spaces are closed and private or open and collaborative, speech privacy is now more important than ever.
For years, many in the construction industry have complained about the shortage of buildable land in major cities such as Toronto. From an urban planner’s perspective, good land means it is well set back from industrial areas and noisy transportation sources.
Changes to building codes, fear of fire risks, and the introduction of steel and concrete have caused a decline in wood building construction. However, wood has made a big comeback and new changes being introduced to the National Building Code (NBC) in 2020 might result in the rise of tall wood buildings.
An article in our newest e-book discusses how new acoustic ceiling materials are well-positioned to help create healthy, comfortable, and acoustically sound buildings. It appears along with two other articles on institutional architecture in “Designing MUSH Facilities,” a free, downloadable resource.
While the acoustical performance of a space may not be horrible without the input of an expert, it will not be optimal. For example, ceilings could either be inadequate in acoustical performance (resulting in costly remedial actions) or over-designed for esthetics, squandering valuable budget dollars in building materials and installation time.