Acoustical comfort evaluation in enclosed public spaces with a central atrium : a case study in food court of CEPA Shopping Center, Ankara
Physical comfort requirements of users as thermal, visual, and acoustic comfort should be considered and studied in detail when designing and planning public spaces. The subjective auditory perception needs to be evaluated parallel with the objective acoustical incidences in a space. The food court area of CEPA Shopping Center with an atrium and a glass dome ceiling, in the capital city of Turkey, Ankara is chosen for the case. The aim of this study is to investigate acoustical parameters of the space via computer simulation program and examine the effect of architectural features of the space namely; central atrium, glass dome and the existing material applications. Considering the relationship between the users’ noise annoyance and the equivalent continuous sound pressure level (Leq) is also intended in this study. The research techniques are computer simulations, noise measurements and questionnaires. Acoustical parameters; reverberation time (RT), early decay time (EDT), sound transmission index (STI) and equivalent continuous sound pressure level (Leq) values are obtained by simulations and measurements. Questionnaires are used for understanding the noise annoyance and auditory perception of the users. The results show that the noise annoyance ratings correlate well with the Leq variances. The most dominantly perceived and the most annoying sound found to be correlated with the highest percentage for speech noise in the food court. Decay time (T30, EDT) results of the space that are derived from the ODEON 6.5 software are found to be very long as expected with a central atrium, glass dome ceiling and highly reflected material applications. In addition, the food court area is defined to be poor in terms of STI. High Leq values as well as long decay times that are present in the space are noted as factors increasing the noise annoyance of the users.