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“Architectural Acoustics in performance auditorium”



Acoustics has been an essential factor for designer/ architects in buildings,

especially like in music theatres, drama theatres, concert halls, lecture halls for
at least 2000 years. The design of various types of auditoriums has become a
complex problem because of its various requirements such as aesthetics,
functional, technical, artistic and economical.

A properly designed acoustical environment provides a good listening experience

for the audience by enhancing the performance or presentation. Even and natural
sound coverage, without any intruding noise and a sense of presence from the
performer or presenter are all-important aspects of "good acoustics."

The studies discuss auditorium and its typologies and it’s also discussed standard
shapes and their design requirements. Study will provide basic background on the
science of sound, as well as insights into some of the principles of architectural
acoustical design. This study provides a method combining acoustic parameters
and design parameters to investigate the influence of shape design on the acoustic
performance of shoe-box and fan-shaped auditorium from the viewpoint of
acoustic potential of shapes.
The acoustic functionalities of materials and the multiplicity of acoustic parameters are
taken into account in order to meet the real situations of shape design. The results first
quantify and prove the importance of shape designs in achieving desirable acoustic
performance for shoe-box and fan-shaped auditorium, and then reveal the relationships
between the probability of acoustically desirable shapes and shape parameters, which
could help architects stay in an appropriate design direction for acoustics. Finally, a
method to evaluate the acoustic potential of shapes in real-time is provided, which can
help architects make decisions in shape designs.

Background of Study:-
The ancient Greeks and Romans began to build large theatres for events as early as 1st
Century BC. Roman architects like Vitruvius started to explore the idea of performance
of sound in large gathering spaces from the begin of the 1st Century. From those early
days to recent times, acoustics has continued to be a mystery.

The design of room shape is usually the starting point of auditorium design. It
not only largely determines the special effect and aesthetic value of auditoriums,
but also plays an important role in room acoustic performance.
Problem Statement:-
An acoustically defective auditorium is struggle hearing of performances,
especially in music and speech where every note needs to be heard as it was
composed in order to release the talent of the performers. Additionally, echoes
are a huge problem in such spaces making it difficult for the rear audiences to
keep up with the acts. Echoes or uncomfortable sound in poorly designed
spaces have been proven to cause bad intelligibility and increased levels of
concern to performers and audiences alike.

 to explore the acoustic potential of standard shapes of auditorium.
 to study auditorium and its typology.

to understand standard shapes and basic design requirements of


 to identify sound and its behavior in an enclosure.

 to analyze acoustic and design parameters in an auditorium.

 to evaluate acoustical performance of effective shapes of auditorium.


scope of the study includes noise control during the shape designing. Its
also extends to the standard type of auditorium shape designing for
examples- shoe-box (rectangular shape) , fan shape, horse shoe shape,
circular shape etc.

Only two shapes (rectangular and fan shapes) are cover in the study.


 This dissertation performs no physical survey .it has been performs

only publish data - research papers , journal , books Research articles,
thesis etc.

 Financial aspects of the techniques is not covered in the study.

Acoustic potential of standard shapes of auditorium

Objective 1 - Auditorium and its typology.

Smaller drama
Flexible theaters Larger drama theaters

Objective 2- standard shapes and basic design requirements of auditorium.

1. Site selection 2. size and shape 3.

1. Shoe box shape 2.Fan shape stage 4. Wall 5. Side wall 6. roof
3. Circular shape 4.Horse shoe shape and ceiling 7. Balcony 8. Line of
sight 9 foyer 10. Doors and window
11. Seats

Objective 3- sound and its behavior in an enclosure.

1. Reflection 2. Absorption 3. Refraction 4. Diffusion 5 Diffraction

Objective 4- acoustic and design parameters in an auditorium.

1 shape parameters 2.
1. Reverberation time 2. Early
Geometric parameters 3 .
Decay Time 3.
Proportional parameters 4
strength .4 Bass Ratio 5.
seat parameters 5. volumetric
Initial-Time Delay Gap
6. clarity

Types of Acoustic materials

Case study

Analysis and finding

1.6 Research Questions:-

 What acoustical factors affect the quality of sound in an auditorium?

. How do literature case studies implement these acoustical factors to enhance

performance of sound?

 Which shape gives a better acoustical potential in an auditorium?

 Acoustics is defined as the science that deals with the production, control,
transmission, reception, and effects of sound (as defined by Merriam-Webster).

The acoustics is a branch of physics that deals with generation, propagation and
reception of mechanical waves and vibrations.

Architectural acoustic-
“Architectural acoustics is the study of how sounds are reflected in rooms, is largely
concerned with how indirect sound changes the quality of the sounds we hear in
rooms”. (Chan, 2017). It is found in literature the major factor affecting indirect
sound is the amount of sound is absorbed by the walls, ceiling, and floor of the room.
If most of the sound is absorbed, then there are few sound reflections and little
indirect sound. If most of the sound is reflected, then there are many sound reflections
and a large amount of indirect sound. Another factor affecting indirect sound is the
size and shape of the room. This determines how sound hits surfaces and the
directions in which it is reflected.

 In the 6th century BC, the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras wanted to
know why some combinations of musical sounds seemed more beautiful than
others, and he found answers in terms of numerical ratios representing
the harmonic overtone series on a string.

 In about 20 BC, the Roman architect and engineer Vitruvius wrote a treatise
on the acoustic properties of theaters including discussion of interference, echoes,
and reverberation—the beginnings of architectural acoustics.

 He described the ascending seats in ancient theaters as designed to

prevent this deterioration of sound and also recommended bronze
vessels of appropriate sizes be placed in theaters to resonate with the
fourth, fifth and so on, up to the double octave, in order to resonate with
the more desirable, harmonious notes. In Book V of his De architectura.
1. Vitruvius geometrical lay out of the Greek theatre
2. vitruvious geometrical lay out of the Roman

The fundamental and the first

6 overtones of a vibrating string. The
earliest records of the study of this
phenomenon are attributed to the
philosopher Pythagoras in the 6th
century BC .
Wallace Clement Sabine – “Father Of Architectural

Sabine's reverberation equation was developed in the late 1890s in

an empirical fashion. He established a relationship between the RT60 of a
room, its volume, and its total absorption. This is given by the equation:-

T=K.V/A WHERE K=0.161

2.3 Types of auditorium:-
2.3.1- Smaller drama theater

End stage
2.3.2- Flexible theaters
Black box theatre
Studio theatre
Courtyard theatre
2.3.3- Larger drama theatres
Proscenium theatre
Concert hall
Opera house
Multipurpose theatre
2.4- Standard shapes of auditorium
2.4.1- Shoe box shape (rectangular shape)
2.4.2- Fan shape
2.4.3- Horse shoe shape
2.4.4- Circular shape
2.5- Basic design requirement of
2.5.1- Site selection and planning
2.5.2 - Size and shape
2.5.3- Stage
2.5.4 - Wall
2.5.5- Side wall

2.5.11- Seats
2.5.10- Doors and window
2.5.9- Foyer
2.5.7- Balcony
2.5.8- Line of sight
2.5.6- Roof and ceiling
2.6- Sound
2.7- Physical properties of sound
2.7.1- Wavelength of sound
2.7.2- Period
2.7.3- Frequency
2.7.4- Velocity of sound
2.7.5- Amplitude
2.7.6- Pitch

2.8- Behavior of sound in an enclosure

2.8.1- Reflection
2.8.2- Absorption
2.8.3- Refraction
2.8.4- Diffusion
2.8.5- Diffraction
2.8.6- Transmission
2.9- Acoustic parameters
2.9.1- Reverberation time
2.9.2- Early Decay Time
2.9.3- Strength
2.9.4- Bass Ratio
2.9.5- Initial-Time Delay Gap
2.9.6 - Clarity

2.10- Design parameters

2.10.1- Shape parameters
2.10.2 - Geometric parameters
2.10.3- Proportional parameters
2.10.4- Seat parameters
2.10.5- Volumetric parameters
2.11.1- Echoes
2.11- Acoustics defects
2.11.2- Flutter echoes
2.11.3- Background noise
2.11.4- Sound shadow
2.11.5- Sound foci
2.11.6- Dead spot
2.12- Acoustic material
2.12.1- Porous absorbers
2.12.2- Panel absorbers
2.12.3- Resonators absorbers

3- Case study
3.1- The metu northern Cyprus campus auditorium (ncca)
3.2- The Burkbumett Community Theatres Guild-


(fan shape) shape)
No. of seats 585 460

Volume/seat 7.8 cubic meter 4.8 cubic meter

materials Wooden cladding over Gypsum board in ceiling,

concrete, parquet vinyl composition tiles in
upholstered seat in flooring, wooden cladding
flooring, gypsum board in in walls , carpet in aisle.
ceiling, perforated wooden
acoustic panel.
Audible sound Suitable for all frequency Suitable for mid frequency
range like 500 ,1000, 2000 Hz range like 125 Hz, 500 Hz.

Reverberation time 1.66 to 1.33 second 0.95 to 1.11 second
Analyze both case study The metu northern Cyprus campus auditorium (NCCA) `and
The Burkbumett Community Theatres Guild gives a satisfactory acoustic potential for
different frequency range .the volume /seat are suitable 7.5 to 10.5 m3 /seat is
sufficient for both kind of shapes. But these volume ranges follow only (ncca) 7.8
m3/seat. Its reverberation time lies between 1.16 to 1.33 second. Its gives a
satisfactory acoustic potential for all audible frequency range.
The influence of room shapes on the acoustic performance of shoe-box and fan-shaped
concert halls are investigated from the viewpoint of acoustic potential of shapes.
Several conclusions can be drawn from this study:
Shape designs are proven to have great importance in achieving desirable acoustic
performance for shoe-box and fan-shaped concert halls. The probability of a random
Shape within the boundary conditions of this study to be acoustically desirable is below
0.5 (0.4827 for shoe-box and 0.4429 for fan shapes). Acoustic issues should be taken
into consideration at the early design stage of concert halls.
Several shape parameters are found to have significant influence on the probability of
acoustically desirable shapes. The appropriate range of Room Width is 20.5 m to 25 m
for shoe-box shapes and 20.5 m to 23 m for fan shapes. Room Length should be no
longer than 42 m for both kinds. Angle of Room Side Walls is recommended to have a
negative value for fan shapes (or the shape is narrowing towards the rear). Room
Width/Room Length is suggested to be around 0.6 for shoe-box shapes and around 0.55
for fan shapes. Room Width/Room Height is recommended to be around 0.9 for both
kinds. Total Seat Number should not exceed 2500 seats, while Main Audience Area is
recommended to be no larger than 1200 m2 for both kinds. The appropriate range of
Volume per Seat is 7 to 10.5 m3/seat for both kinds. Architects are suggested to pay
more attention on these shape parameters and choose the values corresponding to
higher probability of acoustically desirable shapes if possible.