When The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) set out to develop its new 8,500-square-foot headquarters in Washington, D.C., controlling noise was as important to the new office as the layout. ASID called on a leading workplace expert, Perkins+Will, to help it craft an efficient and forward-looking office. “ASID knew, as an organization whose mission is to promote the importance of the interior design profession, that its space should operate as a living laboratory where innovative approaches to wellness, sustainability, and workplace could be tested,” says David Cordell, a Perkins+Will associate principal on the project team.

Noise-control strategies were among the attributes put to the test as acoustics can impact occupant comfort and productivity—a key factor in the WELL Building Standard, which ASID was striving for certification in. The team devised a plan that progresses from more public and group-oriented spaces at the front to a series of work zones toward the back, and the latter transitions from communal tables and open-plan workstations to quieter focus and private-huddle rooms deeper within the space. Treatments to aid in sound control differ in various zones depending on the level of privacy required. For instance, the most acoustically isolated spaces, the huddle rooms, incorporate Eggers Industries solidcore wood doors with Zero International gaskets and drop seals. Furthermore, Perkins+Will boosted speech privacy by eliminating ducts, which can carry sound, between these rooms, and using sound masking in the corridor just outside. Throughout the rest of the spaces, sound is absorbed by upholstered wall panels, Shaw Contract and Interface carpet-tile flooring, and Armstrong ceiling tiles with NRC ratings from .80 to .95.

One need only look at the project’s LEED and WELL certifications to see that these strategies, along with the many others implemented, are effective: The rating systems are evidence- and performance-based, and ASID’s new headquarters is, it was announced in June, the first project in the world to achieve Platinum-level certifications for both.