Gambling architectural services in exchange for a year of desk space in a tech company’s office, I bought with sweat equity the lesson that design work does not end with issuance of a certificate of occupancy. Sound design in particular gets relegated to a low priority, if it is thought of at all during the design and construction process. But the subjects of architecture, especially in open offices, will cite sound as a top complaint. In this special case I became a subject of my own design.

Together with the office staff, we raised a “sound dome” to fashion an invisible room in the middle of the office. Transducers mounted to the polycarbonate panels diffused a selection of ambient sound patterns, producing a space beneath which masked conversations and provided an antidote to the cacophony of open office life.