Interactive Children's Science Center Gets Sound Advice

One of the top priorities at the new Lancaster Science Factory for children was to improve the acoustics for the large, exposed space.

Challenge: 

The Lancaster Science Factory, an interactive science center for children in Pre-K to 8th grade, recently completed a major renovation.

Solution: 

To improve the acoustical environment, the Science Factory partnered with Armstrong Ceiling and Wall Solutions. InvisiAcoustics ceiling panels were installed in the ceiling of the Hall of Science. Designed specifically for exposed structure spaces, the 2-ft. × 4-ft. panels maintain the integrity of exposed structure designs while reducing sound.

The ceiling panels have a Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) of 0.75, indicating they absorb 75% of the sound that strikes them. At the Science Factory, the panels are black and directly attach to the webbing of the hall’s I-beams, increasing sound absorption while virtually disappearing in the ceiling. As architect Rachel Haynes notes, “By tucking the panels into the I-beams, we were able to add acoustics while maintaining the exposed structure visual of the deck that we desired.”

SoundScapes Shapes acoustical panels were installed in the room on two opposite walls to capture sound before it reaches the ceiling. The hexagon shapes feature five custom colors and are installed both individually and grouped in the shape of acoustical “molecules.” “The SoundScapes Shapes allowed us to introduce a colorful, fun shape into the space and to capitalize acoustically on the empty wall space that existed,” says Haynes.

SoundScapes Blades draw visitors to the Water Lab and new Curiosity Wing. Two ribbons are kiwi in color, and the third is positioned over the aerodynamics area and is white to simulate clouds.

On-site acoustical testing validated that the addition of the acoustical treatments led to an  improvement in sound control. Prior to treatment, the reverberation time was 2.6 seconds. After installing the acoustical panels and blades, reverberation time decreased to 1.5 seconds, an improvement of 42%.

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