Sonic Sanctuary

Reimagining urban soundscapes

How might we draw attention to the problem of urban noise while engaging the public? Part of PARK(ing) Day in New Orleans, this installation hijacked a parking spot along a noisy streetcar route to show community members how we could create a better sounding and healthier future city. 


Fall 2018

Collaboration: Hannah Berryhill, Marion Forbes, and Eskew+Dumez+Ripple

Roles: project management, design, construction, outreach

Harmful noise

As cities expand, street noise is becoming a growing concern for those who live urban lives. In addition to causing loss of sleep, increased heart rate and stress, and general irritability, urban noise is a reminder of the chaotic and the artificial.

Sonic installation

As part of PARK(ing) Day 2018 in New Orleans, we claimed a parking spot on a bustling street to create a sound installation for a day. We constructed a plywood cube divided into two parts, each demonstrating different ways to mitigate urban noise. One side, clad in acoustic foam, served as a sonic refuge, protecting its inhabitants from hearing the surrounding cars and construction. The other side, shaped as a funnel, served to replace the chaos with something more pleasant.

Public engagement

We engaged with NOLA natives and tourists, hearing what they wished the city would sound like, offering a change of pace in their day, and providing a chance to reflect on the city.

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