Soundscape in Architecture: Design Criteria

M.Sc Research

The basic hypothesis of the study was that space is associated with particular sonic characteristics, which can be identified and grouped according to different emergences and designations of the architectural space. The study objective is to present and consolidate the knowledge on criteria related to Soundscape design in architecture.

Critical review of current literature reveals that the field of Soundscape design is far from being consolidated; a lack of interdisciplinary approach that proposes a comprehensive practical methodology of design and a neglect of characterizing Soundscape design criteria, particularly in the Spatio-Temporal design context. 

At the first stage, the study defines and identifies the sound-space characteristics which have been addressed in the theoretical architectural discourse. The method was used is based on analysis and synthesis of the main theoretical tendencies which discuss the 'sound/space' relationship. As a result, 15 characteristics and features of sound-space were identified; Auditory Perception, the Diagram,  Structure of Time, Experience, Sonic Happening, Interaction, Immateriality vs. Materiality, Echolocation, Aesthetics\Synesthesia, Semiotics, Sense of Place, Association and Memory, Neutrality, Mood, and sonic identity/branding.  The findings show that the more the relationship between space, sound and listeners is complicated in a certain space, the more the space dense and consist of diverse characteristics.

Finally, a comparison was done between the theoretical conceptualization of the characteristics and their utilization in design practice. In this stage, a preliminary strategy is taken on; an 'observation' and search for the vocal significance of the sound-space in five-precedent sampling; how does the meanings of the sound become associated in the space? How the configurative characteristics of the space influence the sound in return? And how people relate to their sonic space? 

The study presents five design criteria of the sound-space: diagrammatic/ dynamic structure, immersion scale, interdisciplinary, interactivity, and listening/hearing. Those design criteria were performed in three modes; mode of thoughts, mode of expression and mode of production, i.e. from conception to making.

This study contributes and takes part in the contemporary discourse on sound-space design. The findings reveal a new developing of 'sound architecture', which is being carried out by extraordinary sound-space conceptions, interdisciplinary involvement, and timeless representation. This was accomplished by an exposure of a new lexicon, which has enough to draw the outline of the sound-space design field and has enough to lay down the foundation stone for the "Architecture of the IPod's generation"