Acoustics should never be a “maybe” on a list of design needs. But what are some common acoustic design mistakes to avoid? We’ve got our best tips right here for you to consider before your next project. One definition of acoustics from the Oxford Dictionary is “the properties or qualities of a room or building that determine how sound is transmitted in it.” Whether sound is ignored or just poorly planned for, a building or room must have appropriate acoustics to be useful. Now, it’s happened once or twice where someone didn’t think about sound when designing a space, and the results were nothing short of disastrous in terms of acoustics. Take, for example, a £30 million library in the United Kingdom. After the London School of Economics library was built by Foster and Partners, the school was flooded with complaints about the acoustics, according to an article published by Architects’ Journal (UK). A spokesman for the London School of Economics reported to the journal that, “’We have been told that even a whisper can be heard anywhere and that the reading areas are far too noisy.” That’s a HUGE problem for a £30 million library! These complaints came about only a few short years after similar issues arose concerning the Faculty of Law building in Cambridge (search on page 83 for details) – a building also designed by Foster and Partners. Exterior noise and reflections were two major issues in the latter case. Issues such as unintelligible speech, flutter echoes, and too-long reverberation time are just a few other issues that pop up when acoustic design is ignored. What good is a sleek, modern conference room if only 10% of the audience can hear and understand the speaker? Why spend millions designing and building a custom space only to forgo intentional acoustics? Here are a few of the top mistakes to avoid in acoustic design.