The Met places great emphasis on the “education and inspiration” of its visitors and created the Uris Center for Education, a library and auditorium, to accommodate the over 200,000 children from kindergarten to 12th grade visiting the museum with their classes each year. Cerami’s acoustical team was called in to consult on the background noise, acoustical separation from adjacent spaces, and interior acoustics in the auditorium, seminar rooms, and classrooms.
In the educational environments, the two greatest concerns are speech privacy and freedom from intrusive noise. The criteria to ensure speech privacy is fairly simple: short reverberation times and reinforcing side reflections, but it is difficult to determine an acceptable level of intrusive noise. We conducted a site survey and drew upon their past experience to determine the acoustic criteria upon which we would base our solutions. We recommended new sound absorptive finishes for the ceilings and recommended acoustic paneling on the sides of the walls, unable to use acoustical wood paneling because the wood’s acidity could potentially damage the artwork.
The auditorium was a greater challenge because it is an educational space, but accommodates live music as well as presentations. With a combination of directional speakers and acoustical materials throughout the auditorium however, our acoustical team implemented a simple, cost-effective solution met the acoustical criteria we set at the beginning of the project and would also become the basis for the design of the Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium.