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Acoustics of open plan offices: contrasting design implications from emerging French, German & Finnish standards

Felix Larrieu was pleased to present our research on open plan office acoustics at the International Congress on Sound & Vibration in July 2017.  The research was inspired by the lack of guidance for acoustic performance of open plan offices being developed in the UK.  When we reviewed the emerging performance standards and guidance that were becoming available internationally, we became aware of the strong cultural expectations that are implicit in different country’s standards.  Not all open plan offices are alike.  For example, people in some Nordic countries and North America may expect to see high screens between desks that obscure sight lines, whereas in mainland Europe the fashion is for much reduced screens between desks, if present at all.  These have a significant implication for the acoustic conditions that are achievable, which in turn has implications for the suitability for the type of work those spaces may support.

This paper compares the acoustic performance parameters that are achievable with heights of acoustic screens between desks, amongst other measures.  The acoustic performance of the open plan office space is compared with the different country guidelines.

You can download the full paper here, and the presentation slides here.

Return to Research into Open Plan Offices.

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