Siebein Associates News and Events
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Gary W. Siebein was honored to present “Application of Soundscape Techniques” to members of the American Institute of Certified Planners, government officials, architects, university professors, acoustical consultants, engineers, citizens, and others at a joint Symposium hosted by the Acoustical Society of America and the City of Baltimore on April 23, 2010 at Baltimore's Planning Department Boardrooom. The Symposium explored design solutions to community noise issues through a multi-discipline effort that included acoustical consultants, urban planners, architects, government officials, and environmental enforcement personnel. The focal point of the symposium was innovative urban design and construction approaches to design a healthful sonic environment in the cities and towns to limit the impact of noise pollution on the health and livability of communities, and what planners and the public at-large can do to design the soundscape of their communities and address noise impacts in urban settings before they occur.
Siebein’s workshop focused on engaging the community at large in the acoustical planning process to design community soundscapes that not only improve the quality of life, but also create healthy environments. He has spent 30 years developing practical methods to include soundscape design of urban and rural environments by conducting measurements and simulating sounds as they are heard by people; developing methods to identify those sounds needing mitigation and those needing preservation and enhancement; and developing strategies that can be applied in the initial planning process to enhance soundscapes of communities for the future.
Professor Siebein was recognized for his extensive participation in academic and professional service activities internationally, on campus and at the national level during the past 3 years. The most significant and far-reaching of these activities has been his involvement (since 1997) with ANSI Working Group 42 which prepared the standard on Classroom Acoustics (ANSI S12.60) that became the basis of the acoustical requirements included in LEED for Schools. Much of the technical content of the standard in terms of required background noise levels and reverberation times was based on research conducted under his supervision. Siebein was active throughout 2009 and 2010 with the working group finalizing substantial revisions to ANSI S12.60 to modify the document so it could become an actual building code. He attended working group sessions in Washington, D.C., on September 30-October 1, 2009; and in San Antonio, Texas on October 26-30, 2009. It will be adopted by the International Building Code for educational occupancies in the near future and is currently in the voting and public comment phase of approval. This activity culminated with Professor Siebein organizing a meeting of the international members of the ANSI working group convening at the DCP Orlando City Lab facility on December 15-16, 2009 to develop a final draft of the proposed standard.
Siebein was also elected as a member of ISO Technical Committee 43 on Noise and Working Group 54 on Soundscapes. He is participating as a technical expert to develop the first international standards on soundscape assessment and design with colleagues from around the world. He also participated as a technical expert for the European Union’s COST in workshops in Berlin to develop a working draft of the first standards in this important emerging area. The Berlin workshops follow similar sessions in Seoul, Korea; San Antonio; and Ottawa in 2009; and in Miami and Portland in 2008. Siebein is one of only 3 US delegates to the ISO committee working in this area. This work involved presenting invited papers at the Acoustical Society of America meetings on this topic in San Antonio on October 29, 2009; Portland, Oregon on May 18, 2009; and Miami on November 13, 2008. Siebein’s research on soundscape design and assessment methods became the working outline for the standards group at the ISO meeting in Seoul, Korea which he participated in with an invited paper as well as providing technical leadership for the working group November 15-20, 2009.As a result of this work he was also invited as one of the main presenters at an interdisciplinary workshop on Community Planning with the Soundscape in Mind on May 18, 2009 in Portland, Oregon. The workshop was attended by a large number of city planners, architects and city officials from the west coast interested in advancing the state-of-the-art in the quality of urban sonic environments.
He will be one of several internationally significant speakers addressing a similar group in Baltimore in April 2010 as part of the outreach efforts of the ASA. He has also been a member of ASTM Committee E33 on Building and Environmental Acoustics where he worked as a technical expert to review and revise ASTM standards for acoustical measurement and testing that apply to buildings and community noise in Philadelphia on October 4-6, 2009. This past year his work was instrumental in major revisions to ASTM E1686 on community noise, ASTM E 336 on STC measurement methods and ASTM E 1007 on IIC measurement methods.
He recently completed work on a special committee of the International Codes Council (ICC) to develop a commentary on the acoustical requirements for multi-family housing contained in the International Building Code. The commentary is in public review and comment and will be adopted as a part of the IBC later in 2010. The commentary provides “code plus” performance criteria for the acoustical performance of multi-family housing based on recent research; cites pertinent standards for code compliance; and provides methods for acoustical analysis that can be conducted during design to determine compliance. Other service activities have included serving as President of the Florida Chapter of the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) since 2006. He also serves as a peer reviewer for several articles for the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Journal of Sound and Vibration and Noise Control Engineering Journal each year. Professor Siebein is also routinely asked to serves as an outside reviewer by many universities for candidates applying for tenure and/or promotion with specialties in environmental technology. Professor Siebein has conducted pro bono continuing education courses in each of recent years for AIA, ASA, CSI, the Florida Bar, and the Florida Land Use Planning and Zoning Officials on issues related to architectural and environmental acoustics.
These recent service activities related to standards and code development help translate the important research activities of Siebein and his graduate students into everyday architectural design practice. Attendance at working group meetings, participating in international teleconferences, presenting papers at international workshops and actually drafting and revising the standards take a substantial amount of time. However, these are the ways that theories and academic research become integrated in the laws affecting design construction and planning and set the stage for enhanced sonic environments in the built environment of the future.
Gary W. Siebein was invited by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) program to present “Transitions in Soundscape Methods from Theory to Practice” at the Vorkolloquien on Soundscapes and Community Noise at the 36th German Annual Conference on Acoustics (DAGA) hosted by Beuth Hochschule für Technik in Berlin, Germany (March 15-16, 2010). The focus of the paper was to describe innovative methods developed by Siebein to include soundscape design of urban and rural environments by conducting measurements and simulating sounds as they are heard by people; developing methods to identify those sounds needing mitigation and those needing preservation and enhancement; and developing strategies that can be applied in the initial planning process to enhance soundscapes of communities for the future. Case studies of analysis and design interventions in urban and natural areas from this work were used to illustrate a practical method to implement soundscape theories in actual planning and design projects.
The Symposium brought together individuals from around the world to present their research on design solutions to community noise issues through a multi-disciplinary effort that included university professors, acoustical consultants, and research institutions in Europe and Asia. The focal point was innovative urban design and construction approaches to create healthful sonic environments in cities and towns and to limit the impact of noise pollution on the health and livability of communities.
Siebein also moderated a workshop on soundscape assessment strategies aimed at influencing broad participation from research groups, institutions, and universities to standardize soundscape assessments and design methods. He is a technical expert working with colleagues abroad to develop a working draft for the first international standards on soundscape assessment and design.
These activities help translate the important research findings of Siebein and his graduate students (University of Florida School of Architecture) into everyday architectural and urban design practice. Graduate students who have studied this technique have begun implementing the process in their dissertations as a theoretical way to incorporate the sonic environment in the built environment.