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Should You Add Sound to Your Building Design?

It’s hard to find a quiet place on earth anymore. Human-caused noise seems to be everywhere, and that’s because it is. (1) Our living environments are “soundscapes”, and “noise” quickly becomes a relative term.

Yes, your architecture greatly contributes to the “soundscape” that people experience. Soundwithin your building is greatly linked with functions going on within it, but what about the design of sounds that you purposefully inject and mold into your project?

WATCH OUT… SOUND CAN BECOME NOISE

For architects, it is common to be concerned with the elimination of sound, otherwise referred to as noise. Some hospitals are filled with noise that keep patients from sleeping “soundly” (pun intended) and some schools are bombarded by urban noise that interferes with learning.

For some, these are just manifestations of modern living — where there is a fine line between sound and noise depending on who and when is listening. For architects, closer attention should be given to this phenomenon.

TAKE CONTROL…DESIGN A SOUND SPECTRUM

As you design architectural complexes ranging from an urban master plan to an individual building project, you need to keep both sound and noise in mind. You should be asking yourself not only what noise you want to keep out, but also what sounds you want to encourage.

Most all places on earth today have their own “soundscape”, but few are deliberate and designed. Think of your architectural projects as having their own sound spectrum where the sounds you hear were consciously thought out and intentional.

Architecture is more than just a visual experience. Pay close attention to how the sounds your occupant will experience contribute to or take away from your designed spaces. Their thoughts, behavior and emotions are all affected by sound. In fact, they use sound as stimuli that contributes to the processing of their other senses.

Give your occupants an aural journey through your space.

Reference:

(1) Barone, Jennifer. What Do Urban Sounds Do to Your Brain? Discover Magazine. July 24, 2009.

Image Credit: © Ethan Hein | Flickr

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