Building Sound Design

Sound insulation, sound and acoustic quality in residential buildings

© Fraunhofer IBP
© shutterstock

© shutterstock

Acoustical design - or sound design - has become an integral part of product development in many industrial branches. The methodically often most complex evaluation and optimization is oriented towards the specific expectations of the listeners. For example, operating sound and sound impression are associated with solidity and quality, they indicate states and acknowledge handling. Thus, sound design is not connected with soundlessness but serves to accomplish the auditory impression of a product, while allowing at the same time for a noticeable distinction.                                 

For building products and in residential buildings, the acoustic design has so far focused mainly on noise reduction with a view to achieving comfort and well-being through silence. However, there is an extended need for sound design in this field, too. First, operating and usage noise cannot be completely prevented, so that type and spectrum of the remaining sound become crucial factors. Second, in some places of the buildings, noise - however the right one - is expected to occur. Third, the common single values (e.g. sum of levels) do not provide an appropriate auditory impression neither for experts nor laymen. Fourth, for some sounds, there do not exist any requirements, reference or measuring values. Finally, the acoustical properties of the rooms do not allow neither communication nor playing music, neither sound enjoyment nor home cinema experience.

As a result, the audible nature of many building products is left to chance, design potential remains unused, and buyers or users do not have an acoustic choice. This acoustic design potential is in the center of the joint project BUILDING SOUND DESIGN, focusing on the key areas:

  • use of established and development of new psychoacoustic methods and parameters,
  • application of the methods for an acoustic room and product design
  • analysis and design of the individual, reciprocal and overall effect of noise in buildings.

Living spaces are adapted according to their use, and building products are examined and treated, like f.ex. sanitary and water installations, lifts and stairs, doors and gates, heating and ventilation units, floor coverings and ceilings, sun protection and locking systems.


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