Ewart A. Wetherill
Paoletti Associates, 40 Gold St., San Francisco, CA 94133
The term meeting room encompasses a broad range of facilities, from small, single-purpose conference rooms to very large convention spaces that are capable of being subdivided and of accommodating simultaneous exhibits, banquets, athletics, and performing arts events. Common to all of these uses are the requirements for control of intruding noise and reverberation, optimizing speech intelligibility and overall sound quality, and use of sophisticated audio visual and teleconference systems. These requirements present opportunities for innovative designs in which acoustical flexibility can optimize usability for many diverse functions. Difficulties to be resolved include constraints imposed by competing design requirements, conditions recently mandated by Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) statutes, severely restricted budgets, and a general lack of understanding of acoustics issues on the part of clients and builders. This paper reviews typical design issues, with examples from recent projects and with particular emphasis on the importance of familiarity with the many acoustical pitfalls inherent in the design and construction process.