Saturday, 27 May 2017

Elizabeth II: Architecture for Sound

It is unfortunate that too frequently architecture becomes fixated on creating visually stimulating arrangements while ignoring the other senses. Consider this house which stands in the center of a vibrant city landscape in a busy resort location. The needs of this environment require the building to adapt to the acoustic sensibilities of the people who live there.

The acoustical profile of this structure, the Elizabeth II, was based on new research which was used to drive the choice of materials and the forms of the various spaces. The design does two things with sound. It blocks sound, the way you would expect such a structure to do, but it also channels sound without putting up resistance to it in every case. This is a break from the usual monodirectional blocking of sound that architects attempt to do which can often lead to the production of blocky looking structures which are rattled by their environment.

Elizabeth II contemporary home exteriorElizabeth II – Designed by Bates Masi Architects LLC

Elizabeth II home entryThe Elizabeth II is made up of parallel walls arranged in a series of layers which offer insulation from the noises of the surrounding village. Beyond the living areas, the walls gradually raise up from a normal ceiling height at the threshold- raising toward the center of the house. This formation deflects the sound up into a neutral space where the sound waves are dissipated away from the ears of the occupants. This creates what is called an acoustic shadow over the entire building.

Elizabeth II home staircaseThe walls are made from insulated concrete almost twenty inches thick, which also works as excellent insulation from heat and cold.

Elizabeth II luxury home exteriorCustom stainless steel clips connect a broad cedar board siding to the walls in order to provide durability to the Elizabeth II. This is superior to the traditional approach since it moves with the natural expansion and contraction of the wood and does not have any nails or screws to wear away at the wood during temperature changes.

Elizabeth II home entry photoVariations of these specialized clips are used throughout the Elizabeth II on cabinets and hinges, for example, to cope with the natural movement of the building as it settles and changes with the weather.

Elizabeth II staircase

Elizabeth II contemporary living room

Elizabeth II contemporary living room photo

Elizabeth II contemporary staircase

Elizabeth II contemporary family roomSound passes through gaps in the boards and is absorbed by a felt insulation within. Hinges make it possible to adjust the spacing in order to tune the room for different types of gatherings.

Elizabeth II bathroom design

Elizabeth II elegant contemporary bathroom

Elizabeth II bathroom photoIn fact, everything about the Elizabeth II is so designed to cope with sound and space in similar ways. The research that made this building possible informed every aspect of the design and works seamlessly to promote not only spaces and formations that are visually compelling but also to give both choice and consideration to how sound should affect the people who live there.

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