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Posted by  Christopher Brooks on December 12, 2002 at 06:38:37:

I am the author of Architectural Acoustics, recently published by McFarland.

Architectural acoustics is often portrayed as some Black Art – a deep mystery penetrable only by the initiated. And there is something to this. Acoustics as a branch of physics involves heavy mathematics; and the practice of architectural acoustics involves knowledge of a broad range of subjects.

However, it is rarely the arcane physical theory that poses the greatest challenges to the practicing architectural acoustician, but rather the mundane conflicts among acoustical requirements, aesthetics, and budget that go into designing a building. I hope to demonstrate in this book that the acoustics of spaces where we listen is determined by choices that people make when designing and building these spaces. These choices can be understood by the intelligent layman. I hope that this book will lead to better understanding, which will encourage better choices.

The existence of wonderful new concert halls – and there are some really wonderful new concert halls – demonstrates that we now know how to create rooms with superb acoustics. Few people realize that this possibility of acoustical excellence also applies to the other spaces where they listen. In fact, it is much easier to design a modest-sized assembly space –say, 650 seats – than it is to design a large concert hall that may have to seat over 2,000 people. So, why aren’t there more excellent 650-seat rooms?

My goal in writing this book is to excite people about the idea, the possibility, of the experience of listening in a space that allows and encourages focused listening. I envision a day when every high school auditorium, church, and lecture hall is a true critical listening space with excellent acoustics. The technical capability exists right now. I hope that when more people realize that it is possible and have the experience of listening in spaces with excellent acoustics, they will demand this experience in their local house of worship or school auditorium.

I have a dream. With a little forethought and a little care, we could have a landscape dotted with acoustically superb, modest-sized performance spaces and houses of worship. I want to excite others with my vision, because I can’t possibly do it alone. The only way to fulfill this dream is through clients who pay for the design and construction of these potentially wonderful buildings.

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