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The strategic design and implementation of fenestration offer multi-faceted advantages. While fenestrations evidently optimise light and ventilation for the built environment, they also help determine the sound quality of a space. Improving the acoustics of the interiors is a vital consideration for a holistic design output.


Why internal acoustics hold importance:

Every room, depending on its intent of use, has certain requirements in terms of light, ventilation as well as acoustics. While a classroom must be well-lit in order to aid better learning, it must also be free from distractions such as outdoor noise. On the other hand, a cinema theatre should be designed to distribute the sound from its source equally throughout the room. The typology or the purpose of a space can help us determine its acoustic requirements.

A few strategies for improving the acoustics of a room through doors and windows are as follows:


Understanding the intent of the room:


Whether it’s a public library, a cinema hall or a bedroom, it is essential to understand the room’s primary function because that can tell you a lot about its ideal acoustic setting. A good acoustic environment can enhance the functionality of the given space. For example, a quieter bedroom is a more suitable place to unwind than one that lets in outdoor noise. Similarly, optimal acoustics can help boost employee productivity in the workplace, support better learning for children in classrooms and enhance user experience in a hospitality property. Catering to these varied requirements is the first step toward improving the sound quality of a space. 


Appropriating the fenestration layout of a room:


The next step is to design the fenestration layout of the room to support its intended use. Sound, similar to light, travels through the air. However, unlike light, it is passable through many materials, depending on the thickness and absorption quotients. Strategising a layout that works well for the concerned spaces can ensure that the sound travels as required. For example, the windows of a classroom overlooking a playground are more likely to bring in outdoor noise as compared to windows overlooking a central school courtyard. Creating these sound pathways through the appropriate door and window placement can improve the space’s acoustics.

Choosing the right materials for doors and windows:

Depending on factors such as absorption, reflection and diffusion, the right material for the concerned space tends to vary. Sound diffusion is an important aspect of creating a good acoustic experience. This means both high- and low-frequency sounds carry evenly throughout an area. If you’re designing a conference room, auditorium or office building with a speaker system, diffusion can help ensure that sound carries evenly throughout. 


In terms of materials, it is also important to consider thickness in creating a durable sound barrier. For example, a double-glazed panel offers more sound insulation than single-pane glass. A thicker door frame will carry less sound through than a thinner door. Some strategies that can be implemented in terms of materials include using absorbent fabrics for panel infills in doors, sealing the air gaps between the window frame and shutters and opting for high-performance glass alternatives. 


Acoustic design is as much dependent on smart fenestration design strategies as on the space’s overall design. The solutions mentioned above can help create an ideal acoustic environment by optimising doors and windows.