Today’s research on effective methods of educating students shows more can be learned and retained with active learning. Yet, despite this knowledge, there is a gap—how kids learn best is rarely compatible with where they learn. When creating the Field School in Weston, MA, Jonathan Levi Architects wanted to develop a gorgeous space with the future of education in mind. Acentech was selected to provide acoustics consulting for the entire facility.
From special flexible classrooms to the entire layout of the facility itself, this primary school is an exceptional example of how institutions can develop spaces to encourage dynamic learning practices instead of simply accommodating them. Classrooms with divisible walls, an open information center, and even an outdoor amphitheater all promote collaborative learning environments. Even the overall building layout is a celebration of getting children together to celebrate creative thinking. But, since this is not a place with the typical enclosed learning spaces seen in K-12 facilities, the acoustical needs of these areas are unique. Without enough thought put into sound isolation, room finishes, noise build-up, and mechanical system noise and vibration control, these open areas can turn into uncomfortable spaces very quickly. Acentech worked with designers to ensure that the vision of this modern primary school would not be hindered by inadequate acoustics.
Acentech also provided outdoor noise assessment for this project to ensure that the facility would not become a nuisance to the surrounding community. The constant drone of rooftop mechanical equipment can turn into a disturbance, especially for those who are not accustomed to living near large facilities. Part of the function of this assessment was also to confirm that interior noise level goals could be maintained given the large proportion of windows of the exterior façade. Acentech was able to show that intruding noise from the exterior would not significantly contribute to the background sound in classrooms. Our consultants provided peace of mind not only to nearby residents but also to the designers of this school that this institution will continue to be a point of pride for the Town of Weston.