Acousticians, how do you calculate room volumes?

Acousticians give a lot of meaning to the acoustic volume of a space. Too large and the room can be too reverberant, not loud enough and the early reflections are inaudible. Too small and the room cannot develop enough reverberation and uncomfortably loud.

Get it wrong and the space will have a lifelong handicap. It is not easy to reduce volume, nor is it cheap to increase it later on. So checking the acoustic volume is one of the critical tasks one repeats throughout the design process.

Hand calculations on 2D drawings is the basics. But now days, I receive a 3D model of the hall before I get scaled 2D drawings. Thankfully 3D models have made this easier, but not necessarily faster. Closing a volume air-tight when its complex and inconsistently built is only for the patient amongst us.

So I’ve decided to automate the volume estimation from the 3D model, in Rhino, using some basic Grasshopper tricks. This seems to work fairly well. The accuracy is in par with other approaches and satisfies room acoustics requirements. But the true benefit is that it takes less than a minute and does not require any model manipulation. It can also be made more accurate by drawings sections at 250mm centers for example instead of every meter.

Acousticians, how do you calculate your complex volumes?

And you, how to you calculate your volumes?

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