Soundscapes for the Soul: Crafting Emotive Spaces through Aural Architecture

Designing outdoor spaces with sound in mind

8/31/20231 min read

As landscape architects, we tend to focus primarily on the visual when designing outdoor spaces. Yet sound has an equally powerful ability to shape our experiences and evoke emotion. I'm intrigued by the concept of "aural architecture" - using sound and music to create immersive spaces that engage the senses.

Could we design parks to "sound" relaxing? Shape public plazas to feel energising? Or craft gardens that inspire a sense of wonder? With some creative acoustical engineering, it's possible.

For example, planting deciduous trees with rustling leaves or incorporating burbling water features can impart natural calm. Strategic placement of sound-reflecting surfaces can amplify or muffle noises. Integrating wind chimes, bells, or even subtly embedded speakers can infuse delight.

The specifics may vary, but the aim is the same: to complement visual beauty with an audible ambience that impacts mood and feelings. Sound becomes almost tactile, giving physical form to the desired atmosphere.

As landscape architects, we shape space. When we expand our techniques to the aural realm, the emotional power is immense. Our public places can soothe, inspire, excite - transforming not just where people go, but how they feel when they get there. Let's design for all the senses.