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date: 15 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers the history and organizational effects of the suspended acoustical tile ceiling in terms of the difference between ‘space’ (below) and ‘plenum’ (above). Reviewing the development of the acoustic tile since the early twentieth century, and the construction systems with which it was suspended to create a plenum between ceiling below and floor above, the chapter argues that this separation gave the ceiling new meaning. Increasingly, by isolating the mechanical hum of environmental technologies within the plenum, the suspended acoustical tile ceiling maintains a difference between the silence of ‘space’ and the noise of the mechanical systems that serve it.

Keywords: acoustic tile, suspended ceiling, space, plenum, silence, noise, organization

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