Urban Soundscape Design

										

As at 2010, the sites with operating systems are at Northbank, Federation Square and William Barak Bridge, Birrarung Marr. The systems on Soutgate and at ACMI have been decommissioned. The sites fall into two categories. The first can be described as artwork specific where a single work appears on the site as in Birrarung Marr

As at 2010, the sites with operating systems are at Northbank, Federation Square and William Barak Bridge, Birrarung Marr. The systems on Soutgate and at ACMI have been decommissioned. The sites fall into two categories. The first can be described as artwork specific where a single work appears on the site as in Birrarung Marr (Proximities) and ACMI (Soundscapes for Australian Centre for the Moving Image). The second category includes sites where different soundscape designs could be curated as in Signal and Federation Square North Atrium. When it operated, the Southgate system could also be re-programmed with new work. For the purposes of this study and report, urban soundscapes were limited to permanent multi-channel electroacoustic systems, installed to deliver spatial sound designs or art works. For the purposes of focussing the study’s aims and to keep the study within budget constraints, sites such as the Federation Bells, or temporary installations were beyond the scope of available resources.

These public art assets represent the diverse aspirations of asset managers, marketing directors, artists, and planners for an enhanced urban experience. Despite being the largest collection of public art infrastructure in Melbourne, little is known about how effective the systems have been to date in fulfilling the aspirations of diverse groups. This research and report was the first investigation into issues around the establishment of the individual systems, and seeks to establish a framework for future work in urban soundscape design and research.

This research was funded through RMIT University’s Design Research Institute.

Other activities associated with this project:

Musicircus (2007) playback of soundscapes on the Federation
Square system as part of Melbourne Festival performance
Material City Soundscape Workshops (2007)
Development and Workshops for WASP (2008-ongoing: an experimental delivery platform for soundscape designs)
Literature and Project searches (2009-09)

As at 2010, the sites with operating systems are at Northbank, Federation Square and William Barak Bridge, Birrarung Marr. The systems on Soutgate and at ACMI have been decommissioned. The sites fall into two categories. The first can be described as artwork specific where a single work appears on the site as in Birrarung Marr (Proximities) and ACMI (Soundscapes for Australian Centre for the Moving Image). The second category includes sites where different soundscape designs could be curated as in Signal and Federation Square North Atrium. When it operated, the Southgate system could also be re-programmed with new work. For the purposes of this study and report, urban soundscapes were limited to permanent multi-channel electroacoustic systems, installed to deliver spatial sound designs or art works. For the purposes of focussing the study’s aims and to keep the study within budget constraints, sites such as the Federation Bells, or temporary installations were beyond the scope of available resources.

These public art assets represent the diverse aspirations of asset managers, marketing directors, artists, and planners for an enhanced urban experience. Despite being the largest collection of public art infrastructure in Melbourne, little is known about how effective the systems have been to date in fulfilling the aspirations of diverse groups. This research and report was the first investigation into issues around the establishment of the individual systems, and seeks to establish a framework for future work in urban soundscape design and research.

This research was funded through RMIT University’s Design Research Institute.

Other activities associated with this project:

Musicircus (2007) playback of soundscapes on the Federation
Square system as part of Melbourne Festival performance
Material City Soundscape Workshops (2007)
Development and Workshops for WASP (2008-ongoing: an experimental delivery platform for soundscape designs)
Literature and Project searches (2009-09)

Project team

Lawrence Harvey
Jeffrey Hannam
Philip Samartzis
Darin Verhagin

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