Architectural acoustics involves designing a building to control how soundwaves reverberate off its interior in such a way as to maximize clarity, amplifying sound in areas where it’s appropriate to do so, and reducing noise levels where doing so is beneficial.
Doing this involves considering several factors, including the geometry of the room and the materials used in construction — specifically their sound-absorbing or enhancing qualities. Mechanical systems can play a role, too: Fans, motors, and other mechanical components can create noises that cause unwanted distractions and may interfere with the transmission of communication.
Architects take these factors into account when designing buildings with the proper surfaces, shapes, and mechanical systems to distribute and control sound effectively.
Interestingly, research has found there’s actually an optimal room shape for achieving perfect acoustics: it’s rectangular and constructed using the golden ratio (8 feet high by 12.8 feet wide and 18.64 feet long).