Architectural acoustics will include but is not limited the acoustic design for a building’s envelope, internal structure and partitions (including walls and floors), treatment materials for sound absorption or sound insulation of building services.

Architectural acoustics is a branch of design science which, through the application of mathematics and physics, and the adherence to codes and regulations, realizes architectural form into a practical and functioning space in relation to sound.

The cooperation and coordination of the various building design disciplines are combined to produce both a visually and aurally pleasing and a successful working structure that is both usable, enjoyable and comfortable to be in. A strong acoustic example is in concert hall design in which specific acoustic requirements for the space are set out in the design in order to have the room provide the audience (listeners) with the best acoustic sound experience. Achieving these criteria involves architectural considerations, for example volume, location and angle of lateral walls and ceilings impacting and controlling parts of the reverberation time, and early reflections etc. Mechanical considerations such as acoustic design to ensure the HVAC systems are controlled so that the noise from them doesn’t interfere with the performance. Structural isolation is also considered to ensure that, for example a train or metro system linked under a concert hall doesn’t vibrate the building such that, it too, interferes with the performance aspects of the space.

Acoustic design criteria and application are just as important in all other building types, for example a residential apartment having weak walls so that noises from neighbors are easily heard to HVAC systems that vibrate and make so much noise that a person trying to sleep cannot due to the high noise levels, to a nearby train vibrating into a building and the sounds of aircraft or cars penetrating through the walls and windows of a school such that students can’t hear the lesson as well as impact isolation from floor noises above a hospital ward that disturbs patients recovery.

Architectural acoustics is often referred to as ‘the unseen calm of a space’. Sound is one of the five primary senses. Acoustic design value is often underestimated.