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AIA 2019: Acoustics that Enable Architectural Design

06/06/2019 | By Christoph Trappe

CertainTeed created an acoustical solution that enables architects to create aesthetically pleasing, functional designs that can be tailored to suit colors, shapes, and other customized elements needed for schools, hospitals and more.

Christoph Trappe chats with Chris Bourque on the AIA Conference floor. Listen now >>

Read the transcript below:

[Start transcript]

Christoph Trappe: Hello, everyone. It’s Christoph Trappe again, chief content officer at Buildings.com and interiorsandsources.com. Still out here at the AIA Conference in Las Vegas.

And now I’m joined by Chris Bourque, he is with CertainTeed. And we are talking about acoustics. First of all, Chris, thanks for joining us.

Chris Bourque: Glad to be here.

Christoph: So, acoustics is always an interesting topic to me. Because when you have bad acoustics, you know it. And when you have good acoustics, nobody gives it any credit.

Chris: Absolutely. I mean we’ve studied acoustics and acoustics in education, kids learn better and get better grades; acoustics in the hospital setting, patients have a better recovery rate; acoustics in the office setting, better concentration of productivity.

CertainTeed Acoustical Panel

We’re all about kind of the effects of acoustics and different environments and solving for it.

Christoph: And that’s always what we’re after, how do we solve the acoustics problem.

So, one of your new products, and you can talk about that in a second here, that you showed me, it focused on the open office space. And that’s another interesting topic to me, because we’re seeing now people are putting booths into open offices.

You can go into a booth, that’s one way to handle that. Which is kind of interesting, right? Because why don’t you just have an office?

So, the product you came up with, talk about that. It basically hangs from the ceiling.

[Rather read the article? Acoustical Solutions for an Open Office]

CertainTeed Circle Acoustic ShapeChris: Absolutely. We’ve come up with a product called Ecophon Clouds and Baffles. And really it came from the fact that a lot of building design now is open. They don’t have ceilings. So, you’re open to structure. And it’s noisy. But you get that industrial look, you get that commercial look. And you think you’re saving a couple of dollars.

As that design trend continues, we need a solution for it. So, we’ve come up with Clouds and Baffles—very artistic shapes that can hang vertically and horizontally. They can work around lights and around sprinklers.

This category is growing in the industry. We can tell you exactly which products to put in to achieve the acoustic that you need.

So, you get a little bit of art, there’s a lot of shapes and sizes and colors. They’re beautiful. You can layer them in at different levels. It’s really kind of a neat solution for kind of this open ceiling situation that you have.

Christoph: And you don’t need it all the way across, right? Sixty percent or something, is that what I heard?

Chris: That’s exactly right, yeah. You can dial in the percent depending on your lighting situation and your sprinklers. But absolutely. You don’t need it everywhere across the ceiling. You’re just applying it where you need it.

Christoph: So, that’s one of your solutions. We walked through three, I think. What’s the next one?

“We try to enable design dreams for architects. We try not to get in their way.” - Chris Bourque

Chris: The next one is that we’ve got solutions in different material form. We try to have material forms that either are metal or wood or traditional things like you’re used to seeing, or things that look like those.

We’re very flexible when it comes to ceilings that in certain situations, you might not have the budget for wood. So, we’ll give you alternatives that look like wood that are acoustic.

Same with metal. You might need something that has the durability of metal, but we’ve also got metal that looks like wood.

We really are very flexible when it comes to providing acoustic solutions in different forms, whether it’s a traditional standard form or it’s highly customized. And we really do highly customized here.

[Read also: Designing for Special Needs Students]

Christoph: So, what’s interesting is your products, they also look a certain way, right? So, we walked through one of them and there’s all these different versions and looks and feels and everything. So, it is not just about functionality. But it is about the look as well.

Chris: Yeah. It truly is. We try to enable design dreams for architects. We try not to get in their way. So, the products are designed to integrate with each other, smooth finishes that match with smooth finishes from one family to another. We understand the acoustics and the way to arrange one product and material with another.

CertainTeed Acoustics

But really, we’re here to enable design dreams. And that’s something we want to be very careful that we don’t prescribe a solution.

We listen and basically enable a design solution, whether it’s color or form, or its something that’s truly artistic, one of a kind, or it’s something that’s very functional and budget-oriented for a specific vertical like education or healthcare.

So, we try to listen to the client and then talk about the environment, and then kind of listen for their design intent. And that’s what we do here. And that’s why when you look around our booth, you see the variety of color and texture and form. And the acoustics solutions are behind all that.

So, we try to dial that in.

Christoph: So, do people typically come to you because they have an acoustics problem? Or they have a ‘We need to stand out design-wise with our ceilings?’

Chris: Both. We get it from all directions. We have people who come to us and say, ‘I need a partner that can work through a difficult situation,’ say it’s an airport or it’s a school or something. Or ‘I need a solution to—I’ve got a school and I want to do school colors,’ or ‘I had wood and now I can’t afford it anymore, but I like the look.’ So, we listen, we kind of approach it from all angles.

Christoph: Fantastic. Chris, thanks for joining us.

Thanks everyone for listening to another episode of our podcast. As always, if you’re listening on iTunes, Spotify, check us out on Buildings.com, interiorsandsources.com.

Christoph Trappe, still reporting here from AIA in Las Vegas.

[End transcript]

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