Custom Fabric Panels Reduce Echo in Senior Center Dining and Lobby
Senior Centers exist to help aging adults enjoy the company of their peers and participate in activities that are healthy, engaging, and fun. A beautiful, new Senior Center in Ludlow, MA developed by Dietz & Company Architects opened in 2021. The center featured state of the art technology and increased access to space and resources for aging adults. Although originally designed with some acoustic products, the center still noticed an issue with echo and noise in their dinning room and lobby. Looking for a solution, they turned to DDS Acoustical Specialties, where we proposed custom, fabric wrapped panels.
The Noise Problem at the Senior Center
The Ludlow Senior Center had two areas where echo and noise was an issue. The lobby and the dining room.
The lobby is a space where members meet to have their morning coffee and mingle. They catch up with friends while waiting for lunch and other activities. The lobby has a high peeked ceiling with lots of reflective surfaces. One wall of the space is entirely brick. The Senior Center loved the look of the brick. We needed to come up with a solution without covering the brick wall.
The second space of concern was their large dining room. A space that hosts up to 150 members for daily, homestyle lunch. This was another space with a tall ceiling and highly reflective surfaces such as tile, glass, and drywall. Over a hundred members talking simultaneously over lunch make for lots of reverberation and noise-buildup. The center wanted people to have an easier time listening.
The Noise Solution – Custom Acoustic Wall and Ceiling Panels
In order to solves the noise issues in the two spaces, we needed to reduce the reverberation time. To do this we introduced two types of SoundSeal fiberglass acoustic panels.
In the lobby area we utilized 2″ thick S-2000 Fabric Wrapped Fiberglass Panels as well as 2″ thick Chroma Paintable Panels. We designed the fabric wall panels in custom sizes to fit along the peeked ceilings. In total we used 23 panels to add over 400sqft of highly absorptive material.
On the lobby ceilings we utilized 2″ thick Chroma Panels, painted and color matched to the existing ceiling colors. We used (24) 2’x4′ panels arranged in an elegant pattern to add even more absorption to the space.
Overall, with all the additional absorption we calculate that we have decreased the reverberation time by 3sec and reduced the noise by nearly 6dB.
The dining room at the senior center also doubles as a function hall. The total room is 72’x54’x15′ and can be divided with a mechanical partition. We treated the entire space with a variety of sizes of 2″ thick S-2000 panels. These panels were faced with a Guilford of Maine gray fabric and blended nicely with the existing wall color. The panels were installed on the dining room ceiling and soffits and covers about 1,357sqft.
This amount of absorption decreases the reverb time by 1.5 seconds and reduces noise by approximately 4dB.
Thanks to the additional absorption and creative placements, reverb times for the lobby and dining room were reduced to approximately 1sec. Right where we wanted it to be. This reduction removed the unwanted noise and echo from the spaces and creates a pleasant acoustic environment. Acoustics aside, the products installed look great and we were able to complete installation without effecting regular service.
“DDS did an amazing job sound proofing some difficult areas. They were great to work with and I would highly recommend them. Our staff and members walked into the dining room and said “WOW”. It’s like an entirely different atmosphere.Jodi Zepke, Executive Director of the Ludlow Senior Center
January 30, 2023
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