Court, Police, and Municipal Building Acoustical Design

Justice facilities: police and court

Maplewood Police and Court Building (Image Up Studio, Metuchen, NJ)

Maplewood Police and Court Building · The new Maplewood Police and Court Building is a Goldstein Partnership architectural design with acoustical design by Ostergaard Acoustical Associates.  OAA provided acoustical consultation concerning room acoustics, sound isolation constructions, HVAC system noise control, and noise code compliance. This project achieved LEED Silver.

Justice facilities: courtroom

Maplewood Police and Court Building · Courtroom (Image Up Studio, Metuchen, NJ)

Courtroom: Subtle acoustical adjustments to the courtroom facilitate speech communication without amplification.  The wood-paneled walls in the well area are angled to control flutter echo and project sound for better hearing.  The side and rear walls in the seating area incorporate acoustical panels for reverberation and echo control.  The HVAC system incorporates noise control in order to not interfere with audibility.

Justice facilities: firing range

Maplewood Police and Court Building · Firing Range (Image Up Studio, Metuchen, NJ)

Firing Range: The firing range is located adjacent to non-critical spaces to reduce the need for special sound isolating constructions.  It employs a baffled, sound absorbent ceiling to reduce firing and target impact noise.  The greatest acoustical design challenge was noise control of range ventilation systems that exhaust large volumes of air to the building exterior.

Justice facilities: fitness center

Maplewood Police and Court Building · Fitness Center (Image Up Studio, Metuchen, NJ)

Fitness Center: The police fitness center is located beneath the lobby.  Found light is provided via glass tiles in the lobby floor.  Based on an OAA analysis of the room, a spray sound absorbent finish was specified for the canted perimeter of the ceiling.  This finish controls reverberation and noise.

Noise Code Compliance: The building has rooftop HVAC equipment and an on-grade exterior emergency generator.  Both are required to meet the limits of the New Jersey Noise Code.  OAA identified noise control features for Code compliance and provided acoustical performance specifications for these features.

Rutgers University Law School, Camden, New Jersey · For a number of years professors and students complained of acoustical problems within the large classrooms at the Rutgers Law School.  Ostergaard Acoustical Associates was initially retained by Rutgers to evaluate the problem and present recommendations for remedial measures.  Because interaction with and between students is an important part of law education the remedial solution of adding sound systems to the classrooms was not acceptable.  OAA provided preliminary recommendations to control reverberation, provide sound re-enforcing reflections and goals were set for mechanical noise levels in the classrooms.

In 1987 an architectural firm was retained for a renovation of the law school to remediate the acoustical problems and update the facilities.  OAA collaborated in the design of new usually stunning ceiling systems that provided useful voice reflections within the classrooms.  Analysis of other finishes within the rooms determined the extent, performance requirement, and placement of special acoustical finishes within the classroom that controlled reverberation, echo, and focusing effects off the extensive rear wall areas in the major classrooms.  OAA provided guidance relating to the acoustical aspects of the mechanical system design and analyzed the preliminary mechanical designs to determine those additional measures necessary to assure adequate quiet within the classrooms.

United States Courts Design Guide · OAA has provided a basis on which the architect, the engineer, and the owner can understand the tradeoffs of performance and design in the evolution of the court facility.  OAA was selected to develop these performance oriented guidelines by the National Institute for Building Sciences on the basis of previous court experience, demonstrated capabilities in a research oriented environment, and the ability to develop applications of new technologies in the court environment.  We were particularly pleased that the clarity of our written reports, submitted as part of the qualification process, was highlighted as a factor in our selection.

The Guide provides recommended objective criteria for isolation between spaces which require different degrees of privacy such as from Jury Deliberation suites to public corridors and public reception areas to administrative work stations.  It recommends measurable acoustical performance characteristics of large and small courtrooms, conference rooms, and security areas.  Most importantly, it allows the design team wide latitude to select appropriate materials during design and constructions.

Additional Justice Projects:

  • Branchburg Municipal Building, NJ
  • Clarksburg, West Virginia Municipal Building
  • Moorestown Municipal Building, NJ
  • NY State Assembly Chamber, Albany, NY
  • Polhill Law and Justice Building, Orange, NJ
  • Somerset County Courts, Somerville, NJ
  • South Carolina State House, Columbia, SC
  • South Carolina Appellate and Supreme Court Buildings, Columbia, SC
  • State Police Headquarters OTC, West Trenton, NJ
  • Wyoming County Courthouse, Wyoming, NY

Justice Facilities Acoustics << Architectural Acoustics