Acoustic Challenges for the Pacific Autism Family Centre


  • Katrina Scherebnyj BKL Consultants Ltd.


Prior to the construction of the Pacific Autism Family Centre (PAFC) in Richmond, BC, families had to travel to multiple locations to access the resources they needed for their child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Children, youth and adults with ASD, as well as their families, now have treatment support and learning opportunities at a single location. This new facility includes a treatment centre, clinic and research centre, within a dedicated newly constructed building close to Vancouver International Airport.

To ensure that comfortable and functional spaces were provided, as with more typical educational and healthcare facilities, careful design of reverberation control, privacy, sound isolation, and mechanical noise control was implemented throughout this new building. However, there were several more unique acoustic challenges for this building.

Foremost was its location: the facility is located next to the International Airport, so isolating the building envelope from aircraft and road traffic noise was critical. BKL worked closely with the architects, NSDA, to design acoustical features and recommend building materials to sufficiently minimize noise ingress.

In addition to the sound isolation of the building envelope, there were several more specialized spaces that required careful acoustic design. For example, ‘calm rooms,’ where people can withdraw to when feeling anxious or upset, are located throughout the building. These rooms require high levels of sound isolation and privacy for the individuals using the spaces, and must minimize disturbance to others nearby.

Feedback suggests that the occupants are pleased with the facility, in particular with the acoustic environment that has been provided.




How to Cite

Scherebnyj K. Acoustic Challenges for the Pacific Autism Family Centre. Canadian Acoustics [Internet]. 2017 Aug. 19 [cited 2021 Oct. 27];45(3):78-9. Available from:



Proceedings of the Acoustics Week in Canada