Maplewood Park Place is a full-service retirement community for independent living. Retirement and senior living facilities provide a host of amenities to their clients. Providing in house services are convenient, but require medical facilities, activity rooms, dining rooms and a host of other conveniences. These environments should feel restful and be free of stresses caused by noise. All these amenities generate noise from visitors, roller carts, footsteps, machinery and other sources of sound. Unfortunately, it’s more than just an annoyance. This sound pollution can cause discomfort, increased heart rates and blood pressure for both the staff and residents. In this particular case, an A/V company recommended Maplewood Park Place contact Acoustical Solutions for a resolution to the noisy atmosphere in their dining room.
We went out to examine the space and discuss the available options and to solicit any expectations the facility had. The 86′ x 55′ dining room was comprised of mostly hard surfaces with lots of angles, curves and decorative elements like columns and molding. With a space this large and a fair amount of people utilizing it at any given time, the noise and reverb can quickly compound within the space, making it difficult to hear.
Reverb time is how long it takes for a given sound to dissipate or lose all its energy. The longer the reverb time, the poorer the speech intelligibility of the space. If many people are in a space with a high reverb time, they speak louder to compete with the reverberation. The believe that other people cannot understand their speech, and soon everyone in the room is speaking louder. Known as the “Cocktail Effect”, this scenario makes it harder to pick out individual voices from the background noise. Individual hearing impairment and loss of directional hearing further exacerbates the problem.
Prior to receiving any acoustic treatment, is was difficult for the residents to enjoy their dining experience. They could not have meaningful conversations or communicate effectively with staff. Both the designer and the owner wanted a solution that would not change the existing design of the room nor detract from it.
Based on the design goals of the space, the AcoustiWall Fabric Track Stretch System was the optimal choice. Acoustical Solutions installed a 1″ thick fabric stretch system on the wall surfaces of the room. This treatment absorbs 85% of the sound that hits it. Drywall, for example, reflects nearly 100% of the sound back into the room. The system allows any number of fabric choices and provides a seamless, consistent appearance throughout the whole space. Since this was a dining space, we used a durable, wipeable fabric, allowing for easy cleanup of any messes. The AcoustiWall Fabric Track Stretch System also works around any existing obstacles, windows, doors, inside and outside corners, molding and columns.
The result is a completely clean and virtually seamless appearance to tame the acoustics and for all to enjoy. Unless someone points it out, the acoustical treatment was invisible.
The completed fabric stretch system now delivers acoustical absorption throughout the space to provide a comfortable, stress free environment in which residents and staff can enjoy their dining experience. Taming the room acoustics while maintaining the room’s design will offer a comfortable, great looking space for many years to come. Maplewood Park Place is happy with the look, performance and clean-ability of the completed project.