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5 Types of Architectural Acoustics

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Architectural acoustics is the design of buildings for a good sound. It is associated with noise control but can have other objectives such as speech intelligibility, music acoustics, theatre acoustics or environments designed for pleasant ambient sounds. The following are common elements of architectural acoustics.

Building Envelope

A building envelope is the outer shell of a structure that shields it from elements of the outside world such as wind, water, heat, light and noise. They can be designed to reflect and/or absorb sound to reduce noise.

Interior Structure

Rooms, ceilings, walls, floors, doors, windows and ducts may be structured to reduce noise or produce a desired acoustic environment. For example, a theatre shaped to allow sound to flow unobstructed from the stage to all seats and to prevent sound from echoing back.


Building materials selected for their sound properties such as reflection, absorption, refraction, diffusion, diffraction and transmission of sound. For example, a party wall between two apartments that contains layers of sound insulation that absorbs noise.


Selecting equipment such as elevators that are quiet both in terms of mechanical operation and a lack of beeps and other noisy features.

Sound Masking

Ambient sounds that cover noise such as a water fountain or electronic noise control that generates noise-canceling waveform in real-time in response to sound.
Overview: Architectural Acoustics
The design of buildings for a good sound.
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