5aAA7. Assessment of acoustical environments in malls in Saudi Arabia: A case study---Al-Rashid Mall.

Session: Friday Morning, December 6

Time: 9:45

Author: Sami A. Khaiyat
Location: Dept. of Architectural Eng., King Fahd Univ. of Petroleum & Minerals, Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia


Most of the recently developed malls in Saudi Arabia have provided poor acoustical environments. Assessment of such environments is dis-cussed in detail in this paper through a case study; Al-Rashid Mall in Al-Khobar. Physical characteristics of the mall are described along with the special acoustical systems that are incorporated within the mall. One of these systems is the public address system which has many loudspeakers and feedback microphones that allow the system to automatically adjust the loudness of the sound signal produced according to the noise level. Unfortunately, this system has failed to provide the functions for which it was built. Acoustical characteristics such as background noise levels, reverberation time, and the sound transmission index (STI) were measured and analyzed in many locations. It was found that the mall has unexpectedly provided high background noise levels and reverberation time, as well as very poor speech intelligibility. Causes of such problems along with possible solutions are conceptually discussed. Finally, general social cultural factors that affect acoustical environments in malls in Saudi Arabia are briefly discussed along with a set of recommendations to overcome such factors.

ASA 132nd meeting - Hawaii, December 1996