C+S September 2021 Vol. 7 Issue 9 (web)

Urbanization is increasing. According to United Nations forecast - ing, seven out of ten people will live in cities by 2050. Faced with a huge shortage of space, mixed-use concepts bring high-density tower blocks and space-saving neighborhood developments to life. However, maintaining quality of life and longevity in close proximity of living, working, and leisure activities relies critically on specifying the right acoustic solutions. The World Health Organization reports noise pollution as only second to air pollution in detrimental environmental health factors. In the post- COVID era of working from here, people are seeking live-work envi - ronments more than ever. But that means acoustics and building sound isolation are not only critical to the success and long-term viability of a development, it is the only sustainable way to build in cities where people will be living and working in the same building. According to the WHO, excessive noise disturbs sleep, causes cardio - vascular disease, and has psychophysiological effects, such as reduced performance, elevated irritability, and changes in social behavior. Cop - ing with exposure to excessive or incessant noise has been found to increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack. A Silent Killer “Poor acoustics is that silent killer. Think about distractions in your office—or home office,” says Sara Hickman, Sustainability Director at RDC-S111 in Long Beach, Calif. Hickman is a LEED AP, WELL AP and EcoDistricts AP. “Poor acoustics can be so abrupt, and when distracted by something abrupt, it really throws you.” She suggests focusing on typology, codes and zoning when specifying effective acoustic solutions. “In the end, they do bring a lot of value because of the rationale behind them.” Her firm designs a lot of multi-family and affordable housing, which tends to be located right next to public transit and major freeways. “We’re constantly thinking about acoustics as early as conceptual design, and asking: ‘what are we doing besides specifying high perfor - mance glass that may or may not be value engineered out?’” When it comes to multi-family building acoustics, Hickman advises having an acoustical engineer on board to model and recommend an appropriate roof composition, and that architects specify robust wall assemblies. Working From Here: Delivering Acoustic Sanity in Multi-Family and Mixed Use Buildings in the Post-COVID Era

REGUPOL, manufacturer of a comprehensive range of noise abate - ment products, offers wall and ceiling isolation systems to provide a re - liable solution to effectively reduce airborne noise between rooms. The Sonus product system, including underlayment, clips, and adhesives, stops structure-borne noise by bridging the dry wall and the false wall. Excellent acoustic building values can be achieved with easy-to-install SonusClip rubber and metal fasteners—even where little wall mass is available. This offers acoustic technicians and architects alike a clear advantage when it comes to structural flexibility. Work from Here IRL In its latest newsletter, Dialogue Now, Gensler predicts the work from home trend in a post- COVID-era is here to stay. This may have resid - ual effects on residential design, such as the need for an effective home office. In a WFH situation the Four Work Modes—focus, collaborate, learn, and socialize—still apply, and need to be addressed by the space, say Gensler’s Tom Steidl and Brooks Howell. “Multifamily residential buildings will need to be rethought, both in terms of dwelling units and communal amenity areas.” They explore how to do this by listing real-life WFH situations, includ - ing: How to focus when kids are home? How to collaborate effectively on video calls when you’re trying to block view of a pile of dirty dishes in the sink behind you? Do you really have an ergonomic workstation when you’re sitting in a dining room chair and your laptop is propped up on a pile of books on your dining table? Non-children, pet, and spouse noise falls into the category of “other”. Gensler’s workplace study points to research from the University of Illinois that found a high level of noise (85 dB and above) reduces information processing and hurts creativity. Moderate ambient noise (70 dB) introduces enough stimulus to promote abstract processing and imaginative thinking. Three of Gensler’s ten workplace acoustics strategies also apply to the planning, design and construction of mixed- use environments in the post-Corona era of WFH: Zoning, Sound Absorbing, and Walls. These three strategies also correspond to the General Service Administration’s top three acoustic parameters used in


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