Coherent Acoustics by JBA solves noise abatement problems of dockside location
The Hilton Bayfront Hotel is a 30-story luxury property on this California port city’s busy waterfront. JBA Trusted Advisors™ did nearly all the engineering work for the property, designing its mechanical, electrical, acoustical, plumbing, telecommunications, audiovisual, security and surveillance systems. Among their challenges: making sure noise from a nearby container processing facility would not disturb guests.
- The hotel’s location is ideal, close to the San Diego Convention Center, PETCO Park and the downtown Gaslamp Quarter
- The property features 1,190 guest rooms, 30 luxury suites, a 5,500 square foot waterfront bar, a 2,000 square foot Executive’s Lounge, a 6,500 square foot restaurant, a heated saltwater swimming pool, whirlpool and health club.
- All internal systems follow the Hilton’s exacting standards to optimize the comfort and convenience of guests.
Any number of seemingly minor problems can turn into major headaches in a multi-million dollar construction project. Someone needs to make sure that each is addressed before that can happen.
At the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel, the biggest worries had to do with the noise from its dockside location.
- The owners worried about noise from the ships, cranes and refrigerated tractor-trailers operating close to the property. Could JBA acoustical engineering prevent them from disturbing the guests?
- Rooftop cooling towers for the air conditioning system were also a potential issue for guestrooms and meeting rooms on the upper floors.
- The property includes a large convention center with a 16-way divisible ballroom. The owners were concerned that airwalls adequately shield noise from one meeting to the next, and that all of the meeting rooms offer high-end sound.
Michael Schwob, Director of Acoustical Engineering, traveled to San Diego and measured the actual sound levels at the site. He and his Coherent Acoustics team then built a computer model of the noise level at each floor. They also modeled noise levels from the cooling towers and within the meeting center.
- The shipyard noise was relatively easy to solve: the team recommended windows that would provide enough sound isolation to satisfy Hilton standards. No other modifications to the building envelope were required.
- They spent considerably more time ensuring that partition walls within the ballroom and other divisible rooms would provide minimal opportunities for sound to travel. “We paid special attention to penetrations of the headwall above the operable partition, the partition track, and the mating surfaces to fixed partitions,” Schwob explains. The noise abatement effort involved a great deal of coordination with other engineers who, in this case, were all at JBA.
- The acoustical engineering team also designed a vibration isolation system to support the cooling towers and prevent vibration from entering the structure of the meeting rooms.
“In essence, we have the same objective for a hotel as an opera house,” Schwob explains. “We design it to sound the way the guest expects it to sound.”
The meticulous work by JBA engineers has paid off: The hotel, open since 2008, has consistently received the highest ratings, including 4 Diamonds from AAA and a 4-star average rating from guest reviews on TripAdvisor.