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Acoustical characteristics of historical Turkish Baths

Aydın, Asuman
Comprehensive studies are needed to better understand the original acoustical features of historical baths in order to uncover the historical technologies that enabled the acoustical performance for which they are renowned and to ensure they retain this performance with time. In this study, acoustic performances of Şengül Hamamı and Kadı Hamamı, two 15th century historical baths belonging to the Ottoman period, were examined to discover their original acoustical features and to assess their present situation by taking into consideration the recent incompatible repair work. The analyses were done by using 3D computer modeling and acoustical simulation methods supported by laboratory analyses. The results were evaluated in terms of sound absorption characteristics of historical lime-based plasters, the original acoustical features of historical Turkish baths and acoustical failures related to recent repairs. The study showed that these baths had originally well-designed acoustical features provide for a proper environment for musical performances. This success was attributed to the conscious use of historical materials having high sound absorption characteristics. It was seen that these original acoustical features had been destroyed by wrong repairs using cement-based plasters. These plasters demonstrated incompatible acoustical properties, such as less porosity and lower sound absorption coefficients. This study also helped to define acoustical specifications for such historical baths to be maintained in restoration work.