Do You Hear What I Hear?

Dec 20, 2016 | blog

In sacred settings, good acoustics aren’t just important, they are essential. Because every member of the church participates in worship, hearing and responding are part of this holy exchange.

Here are 3 ways architecture contributes to the worship experience:

Letting words—and music—be heard

In acoustic design, the spoken word is often at odds with musical expression because they have very different qualities. Speech requires intelligibility; music demands fidelity, an accurate reproduction of a wide range of frequencies. Architectural design—supported by an appropriate sound system—helps achieve balance between the two.

Making the sanctuary as quiet as possible

Even subtle sounds can be distracting. Proper placement of HVAC systems and elevators—and even the design of door latches—can avoid disruptions.

Choosing the right materials

Interior finishes also have an impact on sound quality. Hard surfaces, like metal and wood, move sound around, while porous materials like fabric absorb sound. Intentional design uses materials to their best advantage.

Proper acoustic design enhances the spiritual experience. And it can save money, too. It’s far more efficient to create spaces that handle sound well than to add expensive sound systems to overcome design flaws.

© Abell + Crozier Architects