Open-plan areas where many people speak at the same time and where the work requires concentration as well as communication.

Ecophon official reference: School, multimedia resource center, group study. Project: Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan, KTH, The Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. Architect: Ahrbom Arkitektkontor AB. Photo: Åke E:son Lindman. System: Focus DG.

Examples: Large offices, open teaching rooms, large, open shopping complexes.

To consider in room acoustic design:
  • Work in open-plan areas demands good speech intelligibility over shorter distances at the same time as the sound must be reduced over longer distances to avoid disturbing other working groups. One basic condition for speech clarity and sound level reduction is a ceiling with a high absorption factor (class A).
  • The effect of sound-absorbing, sound-proofing screens improves if the ceiling has a high absorption factor.
  • Where ceilings are high, suspension of acoustic islands can contribute to room acoustic comfort in a close environment over individual work stations or areas where it is desirable to create more intimate room environments within a larger complex. Examples are reception areas, cafés or resting areas in shopping complexes.
  • In premises where, for various reasons, an overall ceiling cannot be used, e.g. where temperature is regulated via the joists (concrete core activation) or where there are large areas of glass, absorbent islands is one way of creating acceptable acoustic environments. The absorbent islands can be designed as baffles or horizontally suspended units.
  • Absorbing islands can also be used in environments where absorbing ceilings do not provide sufficient absorption. By supplementing with suspended horizontal absorbers or baffles, the acoustic environment can be improved with a reduction of the sound level and a diminishing of sound as distance increases.
  • In open-plan areas with absorbing ceilings but with bare walls and sparse furnishing along the walls, it is of benefit to fit sound-scattering objects or wall absorbers on the walls. Sound-scattering objects mean that better advantage will be made of the ceiling, thereby improving the acoustic environment.