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Auralization as an Architectural Design Tool

Azevedo, Matthew; Sacks, Jonah

Auralization provides a valuable tool that allows architects, building owners, and other decision-makers to directly experi-ence the aural implications of design decisions and allows them to make more informed choices. Standard numerical metrics are difficult to relate to aural phenomena without significant practice and frequently fail to capture acoustical issues that are essential to the basic functionality of spaces. Consultants at Acentech have been using auralizations of full soundscapes including many independent sources as design and communication tools for a variety of projects including atria, lecture halls, theaters, and performance spaces. These auralizations have included natural speech and electro-acoustic reinforcement, crowd activity, inter-actions between PA systems and room acoustics, HVAC noise, wall and window transmission, and the subjective effects of sound masking. In general, clients find the experience of listen-ing to their as-yet unbuilt spaces to be exciting and useful. Though most are not trained listeners, they typically move quick-ly past the “wow” stage and into critical listening and candid discussion of the different acoustical treatments presented and of the overall sound of the space. This helps architects and project owners to feel connected to the acoustical aspect of the design, and it helps the team to agree on design decisions that may have significant implications regarding cost and aesthetics. This paper presents several case studies of projects where auralization was an integral part of the design process. Addition-ally, it describes a rapid auralization design and development process using a MaxMSP-based real-time ambisonic convolution platform.
Published in: Proceedings of the EAA Joint Symposium on Auralization and Ambisonics 2014, Universitätsverlag der TU Berlin
Published by ISBN 978-3-7983-2704-7