Seen But Unable to be Heard: Optimising The Acoustics of Educational Spaces

Poor acoustics in educational environments can compound everyday stressors associated with teaching (and learning), detract from early development among students and result in numerous other issues for the end-users.

The importance of early childhood development for later success, health and emotional wellbeing is undeniable. While ‘nature’ will always be an important part of who we are, ‘nurture’ has been receiving significant recognition for its role in an individual’s development throughout life, with the largest impact on personality being attributed to “largely unknown environmental influences”.1 While the specific influences of early childhood development may be unique to each individual, ensuring exposure to beneficial environments and well-designed architecture is comparatively a relatively simple step, and one that is crucial in determining how children grow.2

People may not necessarily agree on an exact definition of well-designed architecture from the perspective of form, but the end-user is an imperative consideration irrespective of stylistic choices. There is increasing evidence linking acoustics to functionality, and while acoustics may have once been an unknowable factor within architecture and design, this is no longer the case. Rather, it has become an aspect of design that should be addressed sooner rather than later. In order to achieve optimal soundscapes and match acoustics with design intent, it is necessary to engage with suitable methods, products and adequate detailing as a part of a combined approach.

One consequence of not meeting these needs include jeopardising the final functionality of the space. Poor acoustics in educational environments can compound everyday stressors associated with teaching (and learning), detract from early development among students and result in numerous other issues for the end-users.

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1"11.3 Is Personality More Nature Or More Nurture? Behavioral And Molecular Genetics”. 2010. In Introduction To Psychology. University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing. http://open.lib.umn.edu/intropsyc/chapter/11-3-is-personality-more-nature-or-more-nurture-behavioral-and-molecular-genetics/. Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0), https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/).

2 “The Importance Of Early Childhood Development”. 2017. Aedc.Gov.Au. Accessed September 5. http://www.aedc.gov.au/parents/the-importance-of-early-childhood-development.


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