David P. Walsh
Walsh, Norris & Associates, Inc., 25 Drumm St., San Francisco, CA 94111
The acoustical design of music practice and rehearsal facilities is always an interesting and challenging task. However, the challenges increase significantly when the project is a renovation of existing facilities rather than a new design. In renovation projects, extensive investigation and evaluation of the building structure and construction assemblies are required since, in a great number of cases, the original drawings are no longer available. It is also not unusual for undocumented modifications to have been completed to the structure over the years. A working knowledge of outdated construction techniques and materials is typically required. This paper presents a case study of the renovation of the practice and rehearsal facilities for a university music department originally constructed in 1956. The original wall and ceiling systems did not provide satisfactory airborne sound isolation between practice rooms and major modifications were begun less than a year after opening. These modifications improved the overall degree of sound isolation between practice rooms somewhat, however, they were not completely satisfactory. This paper discusses the current modifications, together with the complications inherent in working on a building over 30-years-old for which minimal information on the original construction assemblies was available.