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Technological innovation and ever-changing ideas have become the soundtrack of our world today. And in this era, workplace design must foster this need for efficiency, flexibility, and innovation. Architectural walls seamlessly provide spaces with improved efficiency, design, and sustainability compared to their drywall counterparts.
Architectural walls contribute to both the design and function of an office. The result: a space that is both aesthetically inspiring and productivity enhancing. As an added bonus, they’re more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than traditional drywall options.
They can be 100% relocated and reused, meaning offices only face a one time cost of purchasing, versus more money and time spent on renovating, reconfiguring, or relocating offices with drywall. Installing drywall also requires a multi-step process, from framing, electricity, sheetrock, and painting, which means money and time can easily be lost during this delicate process. Architectural walls arrive already built on site and face a one-step installation process.
Teknion offers three different walling solutions, Altos, Optos, and Focus, all of which welcome natural light and retain a modern look with glass finishes, but differ in the design of the fascias that connect the glass panels. If you’re after a minimal structure with a seamless look of glass, the Optos are perfect, whereas the Altos and Focus offer metal, wooden, and aluminum fascias that create clean lines and visual interest.
These walls also have a Sound Transmission Class (STC) of 35, while drywall typically has an STC of 33. STC measures how well a building partition diminishes traveling sound via decibel reduction, and these walls received an A+ for sound absorption.
You’ll also be able to sleep easier knowing you opted for a more environmentally friendly solution to drywall, with the materials of these architectural walls capturing more LEED points for a workplace because of their reusable nature, recyclable materials, and low-emitting production process.
But office design is about more than just glass cubes. Design reflects a message and serves a purpose, and this can be exercised through architectural walls. Architectural walls offers different materials, colors, and shapes to guarantee that your office will reflect your message. Whether it’s creativity through a bright color of glass, originality through a steel surface, or a unique curved shape, architectural walls can do so much more than outdated drywall.
Workplace design has the power to help or hinder productivity. One main facet of this is workplace acoustics. The chatter of conversations, typing of keyboards, and clicking of pens can distract employees and ultimately decrease their productivity. Studies have shown that once an employee is distracted, it can take up to 20 minutes for them to fully regain their concentration. A distracted employee is also more likely to make an error while working.
So in the day and age of open offices encouraging employees to interact more, we are deemed with the task of mitigating these negative side effects. The solution to this lies in the ABCs: absorb, block, and cover sounds.
Open offices often occupy large rooms with hard surfaces for walls, such as brick, glass, or cement. Sounds reverberate and echo off these materials, requiring softer materials to counteract these hard ones. This could come in the form of rubber flooring, carpet, or ceiling tiles. These materials absorb any noise pollutants and diminish the negative side effects of an open office.
Wall partitions can also be used to block sounds. Open office spaces are perfect for increasing employee interaction and cooperation, but wall partitions can create that necessary private, quiet space for a distraction-free zone. Altos, Optos, and Focus are all architectural glass wall systems that allow for the customization of offices to facilitate acoustics and design.
To cover the noise, air conditioners, heaters, or sound systems will all do the trick. The Lencore White Noise System achieves speech privacy via a spectrum of ambient background noise which masks conversation, keyboard clicking, and other distractions. This white noise combines every frequency of sound, much like the color white combines every shade of the rainbow, to create a symphony of sounds that make it impossible to be distracted by any other audible sound.
Stéphane Pigeon, an engineer of natural soundscapes, travels the world collecting new sounds like waterfalls, wind blowing, or insects (yes, such a job does exist). In doing this, Pigeon is designing white noise out of natural phenomenon with the goal of reducing stress, increasing focus, and improving learning.
So keep the open office design, but remember the final touch: workplace acoustics. No one wants to listen to your clicking pen or chatter about what you made for dinner last night while they’re trying to fill out an expense report.