In the fall of 2019, Olsen Hall reopened its doors after its first major renovation in over forty-five years. Bringing the six-story concrete building into the present, the design team led by Goody Clancy focused on improving collaboration for students and staff. Acentech provided acoustics and audiovisual consulting for the 150,000 SF building located on the University of Massachusetts Lowell campus.
The new building is designed to foster collaboration and increase class participation through Technology Enhanced Active Learning or TEAL. Acentech’s audiovisual consultants worked with UMass Lowell and the design team to ensure the classrooms would promote collaboration and the exchange of ideas. Inside the technology-focused classrooms, six tables referred to as “pods”, are located along the room’s perimeter, each centered around a 55-inch touchscreen monitor. Students can wirelessly connect their laptops, tablets, or even their phones to the monitor to share ideas and collaborate on work. All of the pods can connect to the professor’s centralized monitor, allowing groups to effortlessly share with the entire class and receive feedback from their peers and professor.
Acentech’s acoustics consultants also provided recommendations for the TEAL Classrooms, focusing on minimizing noise buildup through the uses of highly sound absorptive materials. Room acoustics, sound isolation from adjacent areas, and background noise levels were also critical components of the acoustical design of classrooms, team-learning spaces, and a 100-seat lecture hall. Our consultants focused on sound isolation to and from adjacent spaces, room acoustics for comfortable speech conversation, and background noise levels for enclosed areas such as offices, conference rooms & study areas.
All of our efforts went to providing a collaborative and communicative space that enhances learning, increases class participation, and fosters the exchange of ideas.