THE PHYSICS of sculptural forms can filter and transform urban racket.
SONIC CRYSTALS are a useful landscape art/architecture tool to remediate persistent and unpleasant noise (a sonic crystal is scientifically described as “acoustic meta-materials” which can “control, direct, and manipulate sound in the form of sonic, infrasonic, or ultrasonic waves”).
Persistent noise not only affects human health (according to a European Union directive that requires member states to make “strategic noise maps in their major cities”), but also serves as a deterrent—a disincentive to visit longer than you must—given that foul acoustics rebuff and repel pedestrian traffic.
A rudimentary yet extremely affective sonic crystal can be easily constructed (watch this DIY video, and listen near the end of the presentation to how an irritating sound is filtered out by the sculptural form).
EARLY DOODLES of a ‘sonic crystal’ sound sculpture design toyed with a colourful visual decoy to attract passersby.
THE MONOCHROMATIC APPLIQUE (below) was submitted for a public art competition in Canada’s NCC (National Capital Region) in Ottawa.
My colleague Helen Verbanz designed hummingbird sillouhettes to morph–an illusion of the bird flapping its wings– as passersby circle the sonic crystal sculpture.
The vertical poles filter and attenuate road noise from traffic along the busy bridge (30,000+ vehicles cross every weekday); the result is sound akin to the beating of the bird’s wings.