Soundscape assessment of a water feature used in an open-plan office

Zanyar Abdalrahman, Laurent Galbrun

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Citations (Scopus)
172 Downloads (Pure)


Research has shown that noise masking systems can successfully mitigate the detrimental effects of noise in open-plan offices. This paper provides a new approach to noise masking in open-plan offices, through the use of water sounds generated by real water features placed inside a work space. The effectiveness of water sounds in masking noise, especially irrelevant speech, has been extensively examined in previous laboratory experiments. The current paper builds upon the findings achieved so far, by extending the study into real-life settings. A water feature, designed in accordance with preference findings obtained previously, was installed in a medium sized open-plan office (12 workstations). A satisfaction questionnaire (focusing on the soundscape) was distributed prior to the installation of the water feature, to assess the work environment in the absence of any noise masking system. Then, another satisfaction questionnaire was distributed, after the water feature had remained in the office for a period of 3 weeks. The results obtained from both questionnaires suggest that the water feature had a positive effect on the soundscape assessment of the open-plan office, as shown by an increased level of subjective satisfaction that confirms laboratory findings. According to these empirical results, carefully designed water features could substitute conventional noise masking systems, with the added benefits of being affordable and contributing to an increase in the aesthetic value of the space.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 33rd PLEA International Conference
Subtitle of host publicationDesign to thrive
EditorsLuisa Brotas, Susan Roaf, Fergus Nicol
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2017
Event33rd International on Passive and Low Energy Architecture Conference 2017: Design to Thrive - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Jul 20175 Jul 2017


Conference33rd International on Passive and Low Energy Architecture Conference 2017
Abbreviated titlePLEA 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Soundscape assessment of a water feature used in an open-plan office'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this