Library Acoustical Design

Stevenson Library, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York · The Bard Library consists of an 1893 Greek revival style temple and a 1974 modern addition located on a slope at the edge of the campus near the president’s residence.  A five story addition on the lower side of the slope doubles the size of the library.  The addition provides a new atrium entrance and outdoor plaza forming the new front entry area for the library complex.

OAA was retained for acoustical consultation on this project based on prior performance for the architects and concern over noise problems caused by the 1974 addition.  Services included recommendation of architecturally compatible finishes to provide quiet in reading areas.  OAA also analyzed proposed constructions to assure adequate sound and vibration isolation from mechanical equipment and developed recommendations to control the transmission of emergency generator noise to the interior and exterior.

Library Acoustics

Celeste Bartos Forum, New York Public Library

Celeste Bartos Forum, New York Public Library, New York, New York · The Celeste Bartos Forum is a majestic, glass-domed 6,400 square foot space created out of the original local lending branch within the New York Public Library.  It provides the library with an elegant space for receptions, lectures, and recitals.  Designed by Carrere & Hastings, this 1911 space was hidden for many years within the main library.

Since all of the finishes in the Forum were acoustically hard and sound reflective (glass dome and lay-lites, ornate cast iron columns and mullions, marble walls and tile floors) the space was not acoustically suited for its proposed use.  OAA was asked by the architects to determine the acoustic feasibility of the renovation and the acoustical measures required.  Our evaluation surprisingly indicated that corrective acoustical measures were not required on the 40 foot dome, provided that the proposed sound system did not direct sound at the dome.  Large areas of sound absorbent material were required to control reverberation and care was needed so that the new air handling system was quiet (NC-25).

OAA assisted by reviewing sound system proposals to assure directional control from the large movable loudspeakers.  Methods were found to unobtrusively introduce the needed sound absorption via side-aisle lay-lites, treatment of existing bookcases, and installation of carpet.  The air handling system was analyzed and recommendations prepared for system noise control.

Library Acoustics

Furness Library, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Furness Library, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania · The Furness Building, designed by Frank Furness in 1890, was the University’s first library.  The building, in the Romanesque revival style, is one of Frank Furness’ finest designs.

Ostergaard Acoustical Associates assisted Venturi Rauch Scott-Brown Associates with acoustical analyses and recommendations for this centennial renovation.  Methods were found to provide finishes that enhanced the acoustics of the historic spaces which were visually compatible with the renovation.  Criteria were established for new and renovated HVAC system noise levels.  Since new HVAC systems were hidden in oddly shaped garret rooms, HVAC noise analysis and control presented unique challenges.

Morris County Library Expansion · The renovation of the Morris County Library doubled the size to 65,000 sq. ft.  Since the site is adjacent to I-287, OAA made highway noise measurements during the schematic design phase to assist in determining the acoustical performance of façade elements to assure that highway noise does not interfere with library functions.  OAA made noise projections for proposed rooftop equipment to determine the required sound isolation of slabs, walls, and skylights to assure that adjacent spaces are quiet.  Finishes were identified and performance specified to promote good hearing in the large meeting room and conference rooms, and to provide quiet reading areas.

Additional Library Projects

  • Purchase College, Purchase, NY
  • Healy Library, UMASS, Boston, MA
  • Arco Chemical Research Center, Newton Square, PA
  • John Cotton Dana Library, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ
  • Greenville Branch Auditorium Restoration, Jersey City, NJ

Library Acoustical Design << Architectural Acoustics Services