Public Soundscape: Reimagining Public Life In Post-COVID World

Home / Programme / Bachelor of Science (ASD) / Courses / 20.112 Sustainable Design Option Studio 2 / Public Soundscape: Reimagining Public Life In Post-COVID World

Studio Instructors

Jooyoung Hong & Chong Keng Hua


This Option Studio builds upon the Architectural Core Studio sequence and explores sustainable design in urban public spaces with a particular focus on soundscape.

The current Covid-19 pandemic has posed great interruptions to our urban public spaces and public life, as our social structures and routines were forced to adapt overnight – friends no longer hug or shake hand when they meet, strangers have to keep a distance away from each other, large public gatherings are strictly prohibited. Such “social distancing” or “safe distancing” practices would likely to stay even in the aftermath of the crisis. If so, could a balanced proximity be the key to formulate a more sustainable solution for future urban public spaces? Could we engage a new sense of space, such as soundscape, to help achieving such balanced proximity, hence creating a new form of urban conviviality?

The concept of soundscape, the acoustic analogy to landscape, is a new paradigm to rethink the traditional noise control approaches by emphasizing a holistic perspective of the perceived acoustic environments in a given context. The soundscape design approach focuses on human-centred and context-based designs that consider people’s perceptions, needs, socio-cultural background, and expectations in relation to an acoustic environment in a given context. This studio will provide knowledge on how to analyze the physical and perceptual sound environment and how to translate the soundscape approach into sustainable urban sound design and spatial design.

The project site is at Marina Central Business Improvement District (BID), which consists of Marina Square, Millenia Singapore, South Beach, Suntec City, and The Esplanade. Four public spaces have been identified by URA for rejuvenation in future. The objective is to transform each of these public spaces currently without programmes into soulful and lively places that are enjoyable by both working population and visitors alike, through innovative soundscape and urban design with re-configurable public furniture. New urban programmes that involve sound could be considered, e.g. different forms of outdoor performance, while also imagining how the selected place could function as hangout space or playscape during non-event hours. Careful consideration should be given on avoiding large congregation of people, and yet offering a convivial atmosphere.

Studio Objectives

  • Understand the principles of soundscape theory and approach based on the literature reviews and analysis of soundscape design precedents
  • Conduct soundscape measurement and analysis with quantitative and qualitative methods according to ISO-12913 (Acoustics — Soundscape)
  • Identify contexts in terms of socio-cultural, physical, space functions, users, and human behavioural factors that may affect soundscape and urban design of the place
  • Critique project brief and develop soundscape design concepts that can be applied to selected urban public space
  • Translate soundscape design concept into meaningful urban design with reconfigurable public furniture
  • Create convincing arguments for the design propositions and persuasive evidence

Studio Expectations

  • Collect soundscape data and report analysis results with minimum requirements specified in ISO-12913 part 2
  • Interpret the soundscape issues of relevance to the selected project site based on the soundscape measurement and analysis
  • Apply social architectural theories* on public space and respond to the project brief and selected site context with a meaningful design concept (Students are encouraged to take the elective “Social Architecture: Theory & Practice” to learn the relevant social architectural theories and apply these knowledge in studio project)
  • Produce coherent architectural representations and models at sufficient levels of detail (urban design level and public furniture level)
  • Communicate convincingly sustainable design propositions in the form of renderings, drawings, simulations, models and/or VR