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CASE STUDY: University Installs Baffles For Acoustics and Wayfinding


California-based university Cal Poly Pomona enlisted CO Architects to design a student services building that aligned with the vision and mission of the university at-large — to serve prospective students, returning students, alumni, and visitors within an environment that prioritizes human-driven design. As with most large institutional buildings, an acoustically-balanced space is fundamentally important to the success of the design. 

When conceptualizing the office area within the Student Services Building, CO Architects relied on Kirei’s EchoPanel Simple Baffles for their dual function: to help balance the overall acoustic quality of the building — which boasts a generous open-plan and high ceilings — and provide important wayfinding without impeding the abundance of natural light.

“What we enjoyed most about working with Kirei was the versatility of products offered — free-standing applications, ceiling applications, wall applications — and the fact that they are such hard-working design materials, providing both aesthetic and acoustic value,” says Alex Korter, Principal, CO Architects. “The Kirei Simple Baffles are also customizable; obviously acoustic control is hugely important, but if we can make that product work extra hard — layering wayfinding and brand identity.”

Providing important wayfinding, the baffles’ colorways guided the color scheme for the project-at-large, helping to differentiate the ‘neighborhoods’ of desks and working areas by providing visual cues. Through matching the building’s paint colors to the baffles’ colors, CO Architects created a visually cohesive, uplifting space. 

As a LEED platinum certified building, the acoustic baffles’ high recycled content also proved an important part of the product specification process. All EchoPanel design elements are made from 100 percent PET plastic containing at least 60 percent post-consumer content, helping projects meet the requirements of several green building certifications. Panel dimensions were also optimized in the design to avoid excessive cutting, helping to eliminate waste.

“When looking for acoustic products, we prioritize design flexibility, performance, and sustainability,” says Korter. “The high-performance baffles have allowed for optimal sound absorption, ultimately ensuring the comfort of all inhabitants experiencing the open-plan building. The wayfinding is intuitive, and noise is kept at a comfortable level.”

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