Acoustics for rooms in historical buildings

 “Franz Marc Room” in Benediktbeuern Monastery
© Hilmar Gries
Real lab “Franz Marc Room” in Benediktbeuern Monastery with seating.

In the long term, buildings and rooms of historical interest can only be preserved if they can also be put to good use. In many of these rooms, the most challenging task of all is to find the right acoustics for the new use. Using three real laboratories, the research project “Acoustics for rooms in historical buildings” develops concepts and indoor acoustic solutions that are individually tailored to the rooms, but which can also be transferred to other areas. The focus is on the main problems and obstacles encountered when designing acoustics for historical rooms. The project is being carried out by the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP and supported by the German Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) with funds from the Zukunft Bau research funding program.

Project goals

The usage of historical rooms and how to solve, or at least significantly improve the acoustics, must always be considered on a case by case basis. This is what expert interviews with planners, monument conservation authorities, users of historical buildings and others have revealed. Monument conservation authorities set different general constraints for each object, which affect the potential use and acoustic solutions. Against this background, the concrete observations made in real labs help to derive general indications and recommendations that planners and other interested parties can use to significantly improve the acoustics in historical buildings or rooms.

Current project status

In addition to the expert interviews, three real labs varying significantly in size and shape as well as in planned usage and historical conservation aspects were found thanks to the help of our colleagues from the Cultural Heritage Research working group. Two of these rooms are located in the Benediktbeuern Monastery. The “Forum Heimat” room of the District of Upper Bavaria is a listed former stableroom with columns and a vaulted ceiling, which is planned to be used in the future for concerts, lectures and exhibitions organized by the Center for Traditional Costume. The “Franz Marc Room” in the monastery will be used as a meeting and seminar room. The third room under consideration is the large meeting room in Deichmannsaue Palace in Bonn. After designing the acoustics of the rooms by simulating the acoustics therein, the rooms are now being fitted with different room acoustics solutions in collaboration with the companies supporting the project. The use of measurement technology will also allow the impact of these changes to be studied. The project is scheduled to run until summer 2022.

Project partners

  • Heinz Fritz GmbH
  • Liaver Gmbh & Co KG
  • MBA-Design & Display Produkt GmbH
Measurement of the room acoustics
© Fraunhofer IBP
Real lab “Forum Heimat” of the District of Upper Bavaria in Benediktbeuern Monastery during measurement of the room acoustics.
Acoustic model of the “Forum Heimat” real lab of the District of Upper Bavaria in Benediktbeuern Monastery
© Fraunhofer IBP
Acoustic model of the “Forum Heimat” real lab of the District of Upper Bavaria in Benediktbeuern Monastery. Diagram illustrating the sound source (red) and microphone positions (blue).