Evaluating Acoustics And Vibration In Buildings

From the top of the University of Wisconsin-Extension building, the Department of Engineering Professional Development has a great view of what we love – engineering in action.

EPD’s office overlooks the construction site of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Mead Witter School of Music’s new performance venue, the Hamel Music Center, that has been underway for the past six months.

The music center, which is designed by Strang Architecture, will house a 662-seat concert hall, a 319-seat recital hall and a rehearsal hall in its 80,000 square feet that is planned to open in spring 2019, according to raSmith.

Up in the office of EPD, we are especially interested in the engineering of the acoustics in the new music center since our new course in Evaluating Acoustics and Vibration in Buildings is occurring at the end of October. Whether it’s a performing arts center or a recording studio, or even a commercial office space or a research laboratory for that matter, the course teaches that proper acoustics is critically important for functionality of any space.

The Hamel Music Center is putting a lot of resources into its acoustics. In fact, acoustic isolation of the three halls was most important in the structural design of the center.

The School of Music’s current home, George L. Mosse Humanities Building, has a reputation of being an insufficient space for its inhabitants especially regarding noise issues. Built with poor plans because of budget costs, there is excessive sound traveling between floors and rooms; the History Department, which also resides in Humanities, disputes with the School of Music over it.

This time around, the School of Music has sufficient funds for its new home, with plenty of resources for optimal acoustics.

“From the earliest days of conceptualizing the music facility, acoustic quality was a primary goal. The facility will include numerous design features developed to offer clarity of sound and reverberance while avoiding extraneous noise,” said Richard Talaske, President and Principal Acoustics Consultant of Talaske Sound Thinking, who is the acoustical consultant for the Hamel Music Center project.

The Center’s three halls are designed to be acoustically independent of each other for the purest sounds. The concert hall will have 16-inch-thick concrete walls with integral recesses and projections to trap and deflect the acoustics, while concrete boxes as reverberation chambers float on the sides of the hall. The rehearsal hall and recital hall are designed to have a unique exterior precast skin that will stop acoustic vibrations.

In the spirit of the upcoming Hamel Music Center, EPD’s new course in Evaluating Acoustics and Vibration in Buildings teaches how to measure and evaluate the effects of acoustics and vibrations, bringing to attention issues of noise control and presenting solutions to problems, while instilling understanding of noise criteria, octave band, measuring protocol and equipment isolation methods.

The course features an in-depth review of the Music Center by Talaske as one of the many topics in the course.

The course takes place Oct. 30 – Nov. 1 in Madison. For more information, click here. 



Related Courses

Evaluating Acoustics and Vibration in Buildings

October 23, 2019