Project Type: Museum
West Point Visitor’s Center
West Point Military Academy
West Point, PA
Architect: Mark B. Thompson Associates
Every year more than 1 million people visit West Point, and the Visitor’s Center is an important stop on the tour. The existing building was an addition that was built several decades ago and was in need of an update. The visitor’s plaza already included a museum and some outdoor space, but the renovation focused on the connections between the existing structures and the relationship of the plaza to the Hudson River Valley. With a dramatic structural glass wall and space-frame roof, the new addition has an open and airy feel and frames the views towards the river and the new entrance plaza. This type of space also presents some challenges from an acoustics and sound control perspective which is why we were brought on as part of the design team.
Metropolitan Acoustics worked with the architects early on in the design process to analyze the reverberation times in the new lobby and theater to evaluate the potential for acoustical anomalies such as flutter echoes, delayed reflections, and focusing. We also provided design recommendations to minimize sound transfer between individual exhibits. The wall partitions and wall to ceiling assemblies around the Black Box Theater required special consideration in order to minimize sound bleed from the AV system as well as sound transmission between the exhibit spaces. The mechanical and HVAC systems were also potential sources of unwanted noise and vibration in this new addition, and we provided analysis and calculations to address these issues. We provided our recommendations for isolating the equipment and reducing the noise from the ducts and the systems themselves.
It was important to provide thorough analysis and conduct site visits to follow up, inspect, and test to make sure the measures we designed were being implemented in construction. This building is in a serene and beautiful location that needed an interior atmosphere that was pleasant and quiet to match. Our design solutions were all geared towards proper acoustics and suppression of unwanted noise in these public spaces that millions more visitors will enjoy for many years to come.