Historical D.C. Restaurant Boasts a Sound-Stopping Hallway from ASI

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Acoustical Solutions, Inc., industry leader in noise control and soundproofing, combines acoustical treatments to eliminate noise escaping down a hallway at the Occidental in Washington D.C.

Acoustical ceiling tiles and wall panels line the hallway of the Occidental

The Occidental has been the hub of many notable Americans, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, Robert Frost, and Calvin Coolidge"

The Occidental, located in the heart of Washington D.C., is one of the oldest and most well known eateries in town. Since it opened in 1906, it has been the hub of many notable Americans, whose autographed portraits cover the restaurant’s walls. These framed pictures include Franklin D. Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, Robert Frost and Calvin Coolidge. The photos of presidents, cabinet members, senators, sports heroes, literary greats and celebrities have also accumulated over the years.

In 2007, the Occidental underwent a $2 million renovation, reopening for its 100th anniversary. The top-to-toe makeover left the restaurant looking more refined than ever, and business steadily increased. After a while, however, management could not ignore one issue, and decided to research a viable solution.

The kitchen of the Occidental is not a quiet place, but that is to be expected. It is a popular restaurant and chefs and staff are always working quickly, preparing and serving meals. The sound of kitchen tools on the steel tables and instructions being given reverberate in the room. The dining area was separated from the kitchen by a hallway and door, but sound still escaped. Guests could easily hear the noise, especially whenever anyone entered or exited through the door.

Leo Casas of the Willard Hotel, where the Occidental is located, called Acoustical Solutions, Inc. and was walked through his noise control issue by Sales Rep Kevin McIver.

Kevin listened to Casas and examined the current floor plans of the kitchen and dining area. He noted that the placement of the single door, halfway down the hallway, and the lack of absorptive surfaces, caused noise from the kitchen to reverberate down the hall until it was released through the door.

He recommended removing the existing door and adding two doors at the start and end of the hallway. This would keep sound from entering the hallway at all when the first door is shut, and minimize the chance that it would enter the dining area if the second door were open.

In addition to the doors, Kevin recommended sound absorption materials be installed throughout the hallway, so even if both doors were open momentarily, a majority of the noise would dissipate before making its way down the hallway to the dining area.

Alphasorb Acoustical Wall Panels were installed along both walls, and Sonex Contour Ceiling Tiles were adhered to the existing ceiling. These products have a noise reduction coefficient (NRC) rating of 1.30 and 1.09, respectively at 1000 Hertz, meaning that they absorb virtually all sound that comes into contact with them. Beside excellent acoustical performance, these products are both easily cleaned, an important consideration in a restaurant. Because these Alphasorb panels were covered by Webcore fabric, which is wipe-able and available upon request by call only, both panels and ceiling tiles are able to be cleaned with a damp cloth.

After preventing noise from entering the dining area, the last consideration taken was how to reduce it at the source. Sound Damping Sheets were adhered to the underside of the steel tables, significantly reducing the noise made from tools and dishes striking the surfaces.

After the acoustical treatment, no kitchen noise could be heard in the dining area. “The comments coming from the restaurant now are all very positive ones. They are very pleased”, said Leo Casas.

About Acoustical Solutions, Inc.:

Since 1989 Acoustical Solutions, Inc. has provided the detailed expertise needed to serve the noise control community. Acoustical Solutions, Inc. works with a wide variety of customers from commercial and residential development to worship facilities, recording studios and home theater designers. Acoustical Solutions, Inc. offers the industry's most comprehensive selection of noise control and soundproofing products, including a full line of indoor and outdoor industrial, commercial, environmental and architectural noise control products. For more information please visit http://www.AcousticalSolutions.com, call 1-800-782-5742, or see our media kit.

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Aimee Sanford
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