I recently did some research and analysis into acoustic insulation products for our website, ESI.info. It is a complicated area, so I thought I would share some of the useful links and resources.
Acoustic baffles, such as the Bafflesorba™ products below from Soundsorba, are suspended from the ceiling and reduce the reverberation of of airborne sound.
Practical requirements will play a major role but sometimes these products can be used as a design feature.
I found a picture on flickr of The Communist Party headquarters in Paris, below, by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. While avant garde, the design is highly functional – it uses thousands of acoustic baffles hanging from the ceiling to deaden reverberant noise (echo), and a large panel behind the lectern to direct the speakers voice towards the audience.
In 2001, Barbican Hall underwent a major refurbishment at a cost of £7.5million which greatly improved the whole concert experience. Kirkegaard Associates radically improved the acoustics with striking acoustic reflectors designed by Caruso St John.
Sometimes acoustic reflectors are used not to absorb or reduce sound, but to direct it towards a particular part of the room.
Via the Soundspec website, I found some useful links to documents for conventional building acoustics requirements, such as:
Approved Document E 2003: Resistance to the passage of sound (ADE 2003)
You can download this document from the Planning Portal, but there seems to be problems with the site at time of writing.