Designing spaces for every listener
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- Heylighen, A., Rychtáriková, M. & Vermeir, G. Univ Access Inf Soc (2010) 9: 283. doi:10.1007/s10209-009-0175-y
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Inclusive design aims at objects and environments that are accessible, usable and comfortable for all people throughout their entire lifespan. In architecture, this aim is usually associated with physical accessibility. Yet acoustic qualities may considerably impact usability and comfort as well, especially in spaces for listening. This case study explores the notion of acoustic comfort for all in the context of university education. One auditorium, situated in a historic building and subject to renovation in the near future, is studied in detail: acoustic obstacles are identified in collaboration with user/experts and are measured in situ; specific interventions are proposed in consultation with building professionals, technicians and conservation specialists and are tested using dedicated acoustic simulation software. The study draws attention to the importance of acoustic comfort for all and offers a first view of which solutions are possible and desirable and how these can be obtained.