Acoustical Designing in Architecture

Vern O. Knudsen and Cyril M. Harris

Originally published in 1950; Reprinted in 1980


Preface to the Reprint edition


  1. Properties of Sound
  2. How We Hear
  3. Speech and Music
  4. Reflection and Diffraction of Sound in Rooms
  5. Open-Air Theaters
  6. Sound-Absorptive Materials
  7. Special Sound-Absorptive Constructions
  8. Principles of Room Acoustics
  9. Acoustical Design of Rooms
  10. Noise Control
  11. Reduction of Air-Borne Noise
  12. Reduction of Solid-Borne Noise
  13. Control of Noise in Ventilating Systems
  14. Sound-Amplification Systems
  15. Auditoriums
  16. School Buildings
  17. Commercial and Public Buildings
  18. Homes, Apartments, and Hotels
  19. Church Buildings
  20. Radio broadcasting, Television, and Sound-Recording Studios


  1. Coefficients of Sound Absorption
  2. Tables of Sound-Insulation Data
  3. Conversion Factors and Physical Constants


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It has been thirty years since publication of the original edition of Acoustical Designing in Architecture (and six years since the death of my coauthor, Vern Knudsen). During this period, students in my classes at Columbia University, as well as practicing architects, have continued to find the text a valuable tool in the study of the principles of architectural acoustics and their applications to the solutions of practical problems. This is because the primary emphasis of the book is on principles, which do not change with time since these are based on the laws of physics.

Of course there have been numerous changes in details of application. Therefore in the new paperback edition, such obsolete material from the original edition has been deleted and a number of illustrations have been replaced with more recent examples. Changes in terminology, as well as other changes, have been introduced by way of footnotes rather than by resetting the original text. This has made possible the production of the paperback edition at a small fraction of what it would otherwise cost, thereby greatly increasing its availability to students.

Through publication of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, through its semiannual technical meetings, and through its sponsorship of committees and on standardization, the Acoustical Society of America has done more for the field of architectural acoustics than any other organization. To further this activity, all royalties from the new paperback edition have been assigned to the Society.

Cyril M. Harris March 1980, Columbia University

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© 1998 Acoustical Society of America