Paley Park in New York is one of the most famous projects involving masking strategies. A loud waterfall in the far back of the pocket park makes the sounds of the surrounding city inaudible, as well as creating a sense of privateness from other visitors. Paley park was constructed by Zion Breen Richardson Associates and opened in 1967.
As a new runway was built in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, extensive problems with noise was experienced in the surrounding area. Yet, disturbances were found to be reduced when the farmers had plowed theire fields. In a project where landscape architecture was combined with acoustics, Landart Park Buitenschot was built. The Land park Buitenschot is based on a series of mounds that reduces the noise. It is also the largest labyrinth in Europe.
Stortorget (2003) – Caruso St John architects, Eva Löfdahl, Kalmar stad and Statens konstråd
In Stortorget, Kalmar, you will find water art below the ground. Five wells produce different shapes of water and you hear it splash, pour and resonate under your feet. The project allude to the history of Kalmar, since the citizens used to fetch their water from this square. Stortorget received the Sienapriset award in 2004.
Danish landscape architects of SLA Architects often focus on peoples relation to, and interaction with, a certain location. In Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, they have worked with sounds and other sensuous experiences. The square is provided with wells equipped with speakers, from which nature-inspired sounds are played.
Masking / Audio sounds at Södervärns bus station, Malmö
A room with water sounds creates variation in this traffic dense place and moves focus from the noise.
Created by the city planning office in Malmö.
Värdens park – Ulf Rehnström och Per Hedfors
Along the pathway in this park you find speakers mounted in wells. The sounds played are inspired by the sea, since this is the theme of the park. When the visitors follow the path, sensors trigger the playback of speaker sounds, and you can hear waves, gulls, bells and whales.
“Värdens park” was created on demand from Poseidon, an housing enterprise in Gothenburg. The sound path was designed by Ulf Rehnström, landscape architect of Landskapsgruppen and Per Hedfors, SLU
Sea organ in Zadar, Croatia – Nikola Bašić
By the coast of Zadar, Croatia, an unusual kind of music takes form as the sea composes hymns on a large organ. Underneath the stairs leading down to the water specially designed organ pipes are constructed. The pipes are in immediate contact with the sea, and triggered by it’s waves and motions. The composition changes with the mood of the sea, and there is a ceaseless flow of new melodies. The structure is well integrated with the architecture and the spot is very popular.
Read more here and here. With this project, architect Nikola Bašić won European Prize for Urban Public Space in 2006. Documentation: webschepper
FUNtain Hydraulophone at Ontario Science Center – Steve Mann
The world’s largest hydraulophone is found outside Ontario Science Center in Toronto, Canada. Visitors can play on the sculpture, which appears to be a fusion between a flute and a fountain. By supressing different parts of the water flow, the pressure is changed, and tones are produced in the large metallic tubes. The installation, with its two “keys”, provides an environment for interaction between people as well as between water and sound. Movieclip about the origin of the hydraulophone. Author: Steve Mann, Professor, Inventor and Musician.
Sheaf Square, Sheffield. Cutting Edge Sculpture
Sheaf Square outside Central Station, Sheffield, is a former car park. In 2006 it was transformed into a square available to pedestrians, and the remake included several water installations. One of these, the long Cutting Edge sculpture, screens off the traffic noise and in addition provides masking water sounds. The sculpture also breaks the visual contact with the road. Read more
Soundscape Malmö – St. Knuts torg
“Soundscape Malmö” was a Movium Partnership project carried out in 2010-2011. A vegetation covered wall, working as a noise screen, was built in S:t Knuts square, nearby a busy street. Inside the room speakers played different “countryside sounds”, and participants in the experiment took part in a series of surveys.