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Speaker Abstracts

Jack Harvie-Clark

Jack Harvie-Clark

Professional title: Mr
Workplace: Apex Acoustics Ltd
Phone number: +44 7810 514 213
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Designing for acoustic satisfaction in open plan offices

The “noise problem” in open plan offices has persisted for many years; people’s homes have been shown to be better suited to most work activities than offices. There are many advantages for people to work together in offices, but these advantages cannot be realised if the office inhibits productivity. As many workplaces move to a hybrid environment with an emphasis on experience, avoiding barriers to office presence has never been so important.

Room acoustics indicators can only explain a part of noise annoyance. A soundscape approach can complement the room acoustics by focusing on people’s experiences and needs. A participatory approach implicitly takes account of the non-acoustic factors that are so important for acoustic satisfaction, and can reveal the range and type of spaces that the occupants need.

To design for acoustic satisfaction, we have to accept that satisfaction resides in the perception of the occupants, not in the room. We need to change the narrative around acoustics, from the empty room acoustic response to the cumulative experience of the occupants. If we fail to do this as acousticians, we leave the larger portion of acoustic satisfaction to chance.