Soundscape of urban spaces in the conceptual phases of architectural design

Matej Kamenický


Soundscape has an important role in the overall architectural ambiance in design of public spaces. Acoustics of the designed space, whether it is interior architecture or urban exterior of public space plays an important role in influencing the soundscape. Architects today do not usually take the aural properties of their public space designs into account during the conceptual phase. This article suggests ways how to incorporate notion of soundscape and acoustic design into architectural design paradigms. However, the concept of soundscape itself is too broad to address the acoustical situations and qualities in detail. In addition, it is a term that addresses only aesthetical qualities of the given urban space. Use of the sonic effect theory is briefly described and compared to the soundscape concept. Suggested directions of research on this topic in our professional conditions include:

  • Revealing the links between sounds, sound situations and attractiveness of urban areas. Is the difference between expected and actual situation of the sound acoustic reality of the space a reason for its rejection?
  • The introducing teaching of aural architecture and acoustic design into schools according to the model of Virginia School of Architecture
  • Developing models, simulating methodology and designing sound environments in the project (arualisation programmes as parallels to the visualization / modelling)
  • Establishing an objective methodology for qualitative description of the sound situation in urban areas.
  • Legislative requirements to involve the public, which take into account the concept of soundscape. A good example is the Charter of Linz – Linz Charter.
  • Creating awareness about the impact of architectural elements on the resulting sound levels in the proposed area.
Keywords: city, public space, urban space, research, soundscape, design, sound, urban design