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way enhance the esthetic qualities of the chamber. A glass partition is a glass partition and there is no way to make it appear otherwise. As indicated, however, we would exert every effort to minimize the adverse effect.

Effect on Acoustical Qualities of the Chamber

Discussion with the acoustical consultant who designed the

proposed speech reinforcement system reveals that the glass enclosure
of the gallery should, through a reduction in reverberation time, have a
beneficial effect on the acoustical qualities of the Chamber and thus
will not detrimentally affect the sound system.

Light Reflections
The Members on the floor might be subjected to various light

reflections from the glass enclosure, but we would attempt to alleviate.

this condition to the extent feasible through the use of non-reflective

coatings or other means.

Effect on Heating and Air Conditioning

We have considered this matter and have concluded that the en

closure would not affect the heating or air conditioning of the chamber

and the gallery to any measurable extent and that such changes as are

necessary can readily be made by our own mechanics.

Items Which require further Study:

If your Commission should decide to proceed with further consideration of the enclosure of the galleries, there are several matters

within our normal functions which would require further study.

Those are:


A means of avoiding interference with televised Joint
Sessions of the Congress, both as to lighting and the
placement of the television cameras.


An engineering study of the Senate Chamber walls, made
in 1970, indicated that the bearing capacity of those
walls is sufficient to carry the loads which would be
placed upon them by an enclosure similar to that de-
scribed herein for the House Chamber. Although we
anticipate that the House Chamber walls will likewise
support the load of the enclosure described herein, we
consider it advisable to have the structural engineer,
whose firm designed the structural work during the re-
modeling of the chambers in 1949-51, examine the House
Chamber walls and verify their carrying capacity.


It is possible, physically, to install a partition of glass, steel

and bronze, to enclose the House Galleries.



Protection of Members and others on the House Floor from
projectiles fired from handguns in the galleries.


Protection of Members and others on the House Floor from
explosives and other hand-held objects thrown from the


Elimination of noise emanating from the galleries due to
their use by the public.


Improved audibility of debate from the House Floor, both
within the galleries and the Chamber (when coordinated
with the proposed new sound reinforcement system).



Adverse effect on the esthetic qualities of the House Chamber, although we would minimize this to the extent feasible.


Creation of a symbolic barrier between the legislators and the people.


Difficulty of Members in the extreme southeast and southwest corners of the Chamber in reading the electronic voting boards (this restriction will apply to some extent even if the enclosure is not erected).


Restriction upon television coverage of Joint Sessions, which we will attempt to resolve in a satisfactory manner if the enclosure is approved.

There might well be other advantages and disadvantages relating to

enclosing the galleries, but we believe these are the primary ones.

An alternate to any such construction, of course, would be the pro

vision of extremely strict security precautions in the use of the galleries,

especially when the House is in session.

Estimate of Cost

Based on a similar study of the Senate Chamber over a year ago,

where the problems and work involved with the enclosure would be comparable,

the overall cost of the enclosure is estimated at $405,000.

This does not

include the sound reinforcement system for which funds have already been ap

propriated and which will be described in the following section of this report.


With the approval of the Speaker in 1968, outside acoustical engineers

were retained to develop information, analysis, cost and other data required for

future design of an up-dated, improved sound reinforcement system for the House

Chamber, including the galleries.

The studies of the acoustical engineers were carried on in consultation

with the Architect of the Capitol and his staff, the Parliamentarian and other

House officials.

Their comp 1

ed report wa

submitted to the Architect and the

Speaker in September, 1969.

The studies were conducted by Richard H. Bolt and Robert B. Newman and

their assistants, who are internationally known and respected in the field of


They also made similar studies for the Senate Chamber and designed

the sound reinforcement system which has been in use in the Senate Chamber

for the past few years, with excellent results.

Description of the Proposed System
For the House Chamber and Galleries

The new system, proposed for the House Chamber, 18 intended to

replace the obsolete system now in use.

The present system represents

an evolution of the system originally installed in the House Chamber in

1930, a number of elements of which have been replaced gradually following

the failure of original components, or have been added to the systen in

ensuing years in an effort to overcome shortcomings in the performance

of the old installation.

The consultants, in their report, have concluded that:

(1) The basic acoustical characteristics of the House Chamber

are favorable for high quality sound amplification; that adequate speech reinforcement techniques can be applied to attain speech intelligibility on the floor and in the Galleries without making architectural modifications, or changes in the decor.

(2) Although the background noises generated by the Inter

mittent entry and departure of gallery audiences do substantially reduce speech intelligibility, the unavoidable noises associated with the activities on the floor during roll calls and debates indicate the need for a reinforcement system capable of producing higher than normal sound pressure levels without creating feedback. The existing system does not have this capability.


The existing system does not provide adequate coverage
on the floor, in the Press Gallery, and in the Public
Galleries. Any attempt to improve its performance,
through modifications, would be an unwise and wasteful


The speech reception in all areas of the Chamber Ploor and in all the Galleries can be made properly audible, natural, and effective if a properly designed speech reinforcement system, utilizing the most sophisticated components presently available, is installed.

The new installation would distribute the amplified speech

through a relatively large number of small loudspeakers placed

in proximity to all listening positions.

The purpose of a dense

network of low volume loudspeakers is to provide a high uniformity

of audience coverage with intelligible speech at appropriate sound levels. Similar installations have proven successful in the United States Senate, The Parliament Building in Ottawa, Canada, the House of Representatives of the State of Missouri, and in other important locations.

This objective can be accomplished by placing obscured loudspeakers in the Rostrum area; within all Members' chairs, in the

Press Gallery, and throughout the seating areas of all Public


The microphone installations will duplicate in number

those presently utilized on the Rostrum, in the Wells, and at the

Democratic and Republican tables. A new console will be installed

in the location of the existing console, at which the sound system

operator is stationed.

To avoid conflicts with the activities of the House, the

physical work associated with the new Installation will have

to be accomplished after adjournments of daily sessions by

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