If you’ve ever set foot in an enclosed pool — even if audio setups were the last thing on your mind — you likely noticed that pool houses quickly become echo chambers. Now try to imagine making audio sound good in the same environment.
The owners of a villa in Brazil were able to enjoy the vistas and pastoral silence outside their pool house through a three-wall expanse of double height windows. The views surrounding their lap pool were beautiful, but when they wanted to turn their attention to indoor entertainment, the acoustics of the room left much to be desired.
In addition to the 46-foot long, 10-foot wide lap pool, the 2100 square foot structure includes a gym, Jacuzzi and wet bar, bounded by windows on three sides. A movable glass sealing system was installed to maintain interior warmth during the cool, mountain region evenings. The insulated space helped to keep the pool house warm, but it remained noisy.
WSDG Brasil agreed to tackle this unusual acoustical challenge, devising solutions for the villa’s home entertainment spaces based on the firms’ professional recording studio expertise. Each window — including an expansive skylight grid comprised of 24 individual seven-foot by five-foot motorized Italian glass panels — was fitted with two layers of special, micro-perforated transparent foil with one inch of air space separating the layers. Developed in Germany, these translucent plastic sheets absorb medium- and high-frequency reverberation to resolve sonic reflection issues.
Renato Cipriano, general manager for WSDG Brasil, realized that his firm could provide a solution to the pool’s echo problem after using the panels to cover glass windows in recording studios.
“They have proved very effective in helping us ‘tune’ rooms without obstructing views,” Cipriano said. “Now they are proving equally helpful in this residential application.”
The foil’s full transparency insured unimpeded views and greatly reduced reverberation. Special attention was then devoted to the pool house floor, which is situated over a large machine room.
“A number of generators, pumps and air conditioning units live beneath the pool,” Cipriano said. “Thanks to our acoustic treatments, they hum away doing their jobs without making their presence known to the guests.”
The extensive AV installation was designed and installed by Versao Brasileira, a Belo Horizonte-based high-end home theater specialist.