A proper architectural design helps in noise control in buildings to a great extent. It helps in minimizing many costly techniques of noise control in buildings.
The arrangement of elements like window placing, door, the position of the bedroom, balcony, courtyard by proper acoustical planning help in reduction of unwanted noise within the building.
Fig: Sources of Noise in Buildings
Focus must be given to certain main elements that are explained briefly as follows.
Techniques for Noise Control in Buildings through Architectural Acoustic Design
Noise in the building can be control by following methods
- Room arrangement
- Use of solid walls
- Planning for single story houses
- Proper arrangement of balconies
- Having courtyards
Room Arrangement in Buildings for Noise Control
Considering the rooms in a building based on sensitivity, we can divide into less sensitive rooms and more sensitive room. Now less sensitive rooms are the kitchen, bathroom etc. More sensitive rooms are bedrooms, living rooms.
The arrangement of rooms must be made in such a way that more sensitive rooms are away from the noise and the less sensitive rooms are toward or closer to the noise source.
The arrangement of rooms for noise control is shown in figure-1. This planning was applied widely over a 100-acre land which comprises of residential buildings. The building was near to a planned expressway.
As per the concept of arrangement the kitchens and bathrooms were placed near to the expressway and the bedrooms, living rooms where keep way from it. Thus, more sensitive rooms get a shielding effect.
Fig.1: Room Arrangement in Buildings for Noise Control through Architectural Acoustic Design
Use of Solid Walls in Buildings for Noise Control
The use of solid walls means, to use a wall with fewer openings. Mostly walls used in building construction are masonry. When it comes to high-rise, concrete walls are used. Whatever be the material chosen, both behave massive and resist noise in a very efficient manner.
Now having an opening in walls will reduce its efficiency in noise control. The openings in the forms of windows or doors that are facing directly towards the noise, would welcome noise into the building.
The efficiency of walls can be explained in figure-2. Here the wall barrier between the building and the noise is not at an adequate height, but the lower floors must feel comfortable with less noise. This is possible because the barrier has no opening.
To have the complete role of a barrier, opening in walls facing the direct noise must be planned accordingly and if possible, eliminated. In a case where elimination is not possible, reduction in the size of openings is recommended.
Fig.2: Use of Solid Walls in Buildings for Noise Control
Planning for Single Story Houses
This is an architectural planning step taken before planning the design of the building. For example, consider that we have a land where the construction has to be conducted, but we have a noise source at a particular distance from the site.
The plan is to construct a two-story building. We also have a barrier in between the site and the noise source. The situation is that the reduction of noise from the source is efficient only when the building is a single story as shown in figure-3. When a more story building is planned the barrier, height will be insufficient.
Under such situation, it is always recommended to compromise with the plan and go for an economical and quality construction. Another option is to adopt a split-level design for the building, that would meet all the requirements.
Fig.3: Use of Single Story Houses to Reduce Noise Impacts
Proper Arrangement of Balconies for Noise Control
Balconies provide access to the external environment as well as ventilation in the form of light and air. But the improper arrangement of balconies would give complete discomfort, hiding all its advantages through noise.
Balconies have higher exposure to outside environment. If the building is faced towards a highly traffic prone area, with balcony facing the same side, it would promote the intensity of noise entering the building, as shown in figure 4.
Fig.4: Balcony Facing the Road attracts Noise into the Building
The problem is mainly seen in highly populated cities, where high rise building facing the highway is constructed. In such cases, measures to reduce direct impact of noise must be carried out. Balconies can be placed in a shielded area than direct open area.
Having Courtyards for Noise Control
Having courtyards helps in reduction noise control in buildings. This can be an added measure of noise reduction in architectural planning and design.
The Proper architectural design may also provide for noise reduction in an area outside of the building. They provide an acoustical privacy. A shielding effect is provided by these courtyards. It is constructed in residences, schools, hospitals, colleges etc..
Fig.5: Courtyards for Noise Control in Buildings