3 Tips for Designing with Baffles

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Create an Iconic Ceiling Using Basic Shapes by Following These Simple Rules

With the popularity of adaptive reuse projects in urban areas across the country, it is not surprising that roughly 40 percent of ceilings are destined for remodeling projects. However, remodels, renovations and adaptive reuse projects are especially challenging.

While, a wall-to-wall suspended ceiling is the most effective acoustic solution, but it’s not always an option. In adaptive reuse or renovation situations, acoustic solutions often have to accommodate existing HVAC ductwork, plumbing and fire protection systems. Then there is the prevalence of open space design. The growing evidence of the benefits of daylighting has helped spurn the use of open plenums and exposed structures often accompanied by glass, wood, metal, polished concrete and other acoustically reflective materials.

To help architects design solutions that are both visually and acoustically pleasing, manufacturers, like CertainTeed, have cut the grid, so to speak, offering a variety of creative solutions to the traditional suspended ceiling. One such option, is the use of vertical baffles.

These lightweight architectural forms provide two-sided sound absorption and create a uniquely modern visual. Linear rectangles, undulating waves and cutting-edge zig zag patterns provide excellent sound absorption with a relatively shallow system depth. Plus, they can be suspended in atria to avoid interrupting sightlines or diminishing the magnitude of the space.

Baffles can open up a world of possibilities to architects but there are a few basic guidelines designers need to keep in mind to get the desired sound benefits from these high-impact sculptural designs.

Maximize the Acoustical Performance of Vertical Baffles

Ecophon Solo Baffle hung in a staggered pattern.

Ecophon Solo Baffles hung in a staggered pattern.

Read the room. In large atriums and clerestory spaces, suspended baffles are an even better option than clouds, as they visually maintain the magnitude of the space without disrupting sight lines to the top of the building.

Ecophon Solo Baffles hung in a wave design

Ecophon Solo Baffles hung in a wave design.

Balanced coverage is key. Square footage of baffles should equal 30 – 60 percent of the ceiling square footage to ensure adequate sound absorption.

Vertical Baffle hung in a horizontal row.

Vertical Baffle hung in a horizontal row.

Give them their space. Optimize sound absorption by spacing rows or checkerboard patterns a minimum of 24-inches apart. This position allows sound to move between and bounce off of the baffles for the best performance.

Vertical baffles come in three shapes, ten size options and 16-standard colors. They can hang vertically or horizontally. Popular installation styles include waves, zig-zags or staggered, but really, the possibilities are limited only to the imagination.

To learn more about how to incorporate baffles in your ceiling design, download our free guide: Acoustical Design for Open Spaces.

Plus, the elements of acoustical design (video) and 3 questions to determine the best acoustical approach for your space.

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