The determining impact of architecture on sound in the built environment: Applications in sound masking systems and indoor noise sources


  • Viken Koukounian LogiSon Acoustic Network


In recent discussions amongst international testing standards working groups, it has become apparent that the effects of physical features (e.g., room shape and geometry, architectural fit-outs, finishings and furnishings) on the spectral and spatial characteristics of sound are not always being differentiated from those of measurement procedures (e.g., stationary and moving microphones, location and positioning of instrumentation). There is, therefore, a need to revisit foundational principles in mathematics and physics (i.e., acoustics) to reaffirm the determining impact of architecture on the propagation of sound within the built environment. An earlier investigation demonstrated architecture has a more significant impact on the variability of properties of sound (emitted from a constant and continuous source) than the measurement guidelines provided by testing standards. The work herein builds upon those findings by applying the theoretical understandings to context-relevant applications, such as sources of noise and electronically-generated masking sound. Subtopics include the range of variability of sound (i.e., overall and spectral) from noise sources and the role masking control zone size plays in its reduction for perceptual (i.e., occupant-related) purposes.

Author Biography

Viken Koukounian, LogiSon Acoustic Network

Viken Koukounian (Ph.D., P.Eng.) is the resident acoustical engineer at K.R. Moeller Associates Ltd., manufacturer of the LogiSon Acoustic Network for sound masking, music and paging. He is a strong advocate for the effective control of background sound as part of a holistic approach to design and verification of the acoustical environment. He is active within the acoustical community, by membership or appointment, with ASA, ASHRAE, ASTM, GBI, ISO/SCC, IWBI and USGBC where he supports the development of Standards, Guidelines and Codes through evidence-based practice. Koukounian not only brings a wide breadth of experience from working in various sectors (HVAC, aerospace, rail, noise control, vibration isolation, ultrasonics, sound masking) for Hatch Ltd., Parklane Mechanical Acoustics, Bombardier Aerospace, Bombardier Transportation, Vibro-Acoustics, and K.R. Moeller Associates Ltd., he also has a deep understanding of, and passion for, converging aero-vibro-acoustical theories and best practices.

Additional Files



How to Cite

Koukounian V. The determining impact of architecture on sound in the built environment: Applications in sound masking systems and indoor noise sources. Canadian Acoustics [Internet]. 2022 Aug. 10 [cited 2024 Jun. 21];50(3):34-5. Available from:



Proceedings of the Acoustics Week in Canada