Reducing Distractions and Protecting Speech Privacy while Maintaining an Architectural Vision
When Oklahoma City-based professional liability insurer PLICO hired Elliott + Associates Architects to design their new office, they wanted a space that would let in lots of natural light and provide a modern design aesthetic while simultaneously preserving the history of one of the city’s most unique buildings. Vacant for 27 years, PLICO would inherit Oklahoma City’s own version of the “flatiron” building. The renovation would include the entire two-level building and the construction of a modern, yet complementary, rooftop addition, boardroom and outdoor deck.
Although the building would not include cubicles and every employee would get a private workspace, walls were made of a blue and clear polycarbonate material that helped protect visual privacy while letting in lots of natural light. To let in further light and give the space an open feel, there would also be a two-foot space between the top of the walls and the open ceiling, and none of the private offices would have doors. Only conference rooms would have closed ceilings and doors.
Elliott + Associates Architects worked with Rob Rogers from technology integrator Audio\Visual Design (AVD) to ensure acoustical privacy in offices. Rob recommended that a sound masking system be installed before completion of the construction work to help mitigate these issues. Sound masking is the process of adding an unobtrusive background noise to an environment through speakers installed in the ceiling to cover up excess speech noise. PLICO agreed and decided to incorporate the QtPro sound masking system into the office renovation.
“The sound masking system makes it so speech noise just kind of fades into the background and you don’t notice it. We love our new office!” – Brook Barnettt, Office Manager, PLICO
AVD installed small, barely visible emitters (loudspeakers) throughout the open ceiling areas of the space. The emitters were connected by cables to an intuitive Qt 300 control module mounted in the server room. The emitters were small enough that they were easy to put in
similar enclosures to the ones that held some of the light fixtures. “Incorporating the emitters into the design was easy,” says Bill Yen from Elliott + Associates. “I’ve worked with Rob Rogers from AVD for a long time, and he knows how to incorporate technology, including sound masking technology, into our designs seamlessly.”
A Pleasant, Comfortable, and Beautiful Work Environment
PLICO’s new office is everything they hoped it would be, excelling in both form and function. Employees can concentrate with minimal speech noise distractions and can hold meetings in their private offices and conference rooms without fear of being overheard. Additionally, the small size of the emitters ensured that the sleek, industrial interior design wasn’t compromised. Sound masking even helped cover up some of the nearby road noise. “The sound masking system makes it so speech noise just kind of fades into the background and you don’t notice it,” says Brook Barnett, office manager at PLICO. “We love our new office!”
PLICO, a MedPro/Berkshire Hathaway company, is Oklahoma’s premier partner for healthcare professional liability products and services. Endorsed by the Oklahoma State Medical Association, Oklahoma Osteopathic Association and Oklahoma Hospital Association, PLICO is trusted by more Oklahoma healthcare professionals than any other carrier for its superior defense and risk management services.
About Ellliott + Associates
Elliott + Associates display both a unique depth and breadth of quality in their practice of architecture. The firm’s work has been described as “architectural portraits” of the clients they serve. Each project is a direct result of the project location, climate, the owner’s personality, business goals and project budgets. The projects are specifically designed to fit each place. Their success in working with modest and tight budgets is notable, because they believe limitations often lead to the best solutions. Six of the firm’s ten National AIA Honor Award winning projects were considered “low budget.”
About Audio\Video Designs, Inc.
Audio\Video Designs, Inc. (AVD) is a multi- faceted firm dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in all forms of communications. Our goal as consultants in architectural acoustics is to control sound as a positive and creative consideration in the design or rehabilitation of buildings. We strive to provide a balanced and concerned consulting service in terms of design integrity, functional requirements, and construction techniques, as well as time and budgetary constraints.
Biamp® is a leading provider of innovative, networked media systems that power the world’s most sophisticated audiovisual installations. The company is recognized worldwide for delivering high-quality products and backing each one with a commitment to exceptional customer service.
Recipient of the Frost & Sullivan 2018 Global Installed Audio Conferencing Enabling Technology Leadership Award, Biamp is dedicated to creating products that drive the evolution of communication through sight and sound. The award-winning Biamp product suite includes: Tesira® media system for digital audio and video networking, Devio® collaboration tool for modern workplaces, Audia® digital audio platform, Nexia® digital signal processors, Vocia® networked public address and voice evacuation system, Cambridge® sound masking solutions, and loudspeakers for installed sound applications from Community Loudspeakers® and Apart Audio®. Each has its own specific feature set that can be customized and integrated in a wide range of applications, including corporate boardrooms, conference centers, huddle rooms, open floor environments, performing arts venues, courtrooms, hospitals, transportation hubs, campuses, retail, hospitality, military and government, and multi-building facilities.
Founded in 1976, Biamp is headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, USA, with additional offices around the globe. For more information on Biamp, please visit www.biamp.com.