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Façades and Urban Soundscape

Buildings have a substantial effect on the quality of urban environments where people live and visit. The relationship of building façades and urban sound/noise is often overlooked (e.g. effects on outdoor sound are neglected by international sustainability labels at the time of certifying a building or a city), however extensive research indicates that façades influence decibel levels on streets as well as reverberation time, speech intelligibility, loudness and sharpness among other objective parameters. On the other hand, aside from decibel-related measures, the past decade has seen a prosperous rise of research on the interdisciplinary field known as “soundscape”. Theoretical links between façades and urban soundscape have been established but a thorough description of their interactions has not been done yet. This research proposes a human-centered design strategy that aims to integrate the definitions and conceptual framework of soundscape proposed by ISO 12913 into a methodology to evaluate the influence of façades on the soundscape, in terms of health and well-being. In order to do this, a data collection campaign involving field work in different cities aims to survey people’s perception in urban environments and then use the data to conduct audio-visual laboratory experiments surveying new groups of people. The statistical significance of physical and perceptual variations should provide insight to determine the performance of a façade on the soundscape. Finally, a set of computational tools will be provided in order to apply the methodology to analyze any façade and its potential influence on the soundscape.

Partners: TU Delft, TH OWL, Schüco

PhD Candidate: Alvaro Balderrama

Duration time: 2021 – 2025