The Landscape Institute Award winners have been announced and as sponsors of the Innovation category we wanted to share details of the winning project by Usue Ruiz Arana.
The project explores soundscapes, investigating how landscape architects can bring this concept into the planning and implementation stages of a project to deliver meaningful design.
The judges described the project as “A compelling, timely and immersive study, that breaks new ground exploring an area of landscape practice that is not commonly known or understood”. They thought it was clearly and thoroughly evidenced, and that this valuable guidance offers practical and inspirational design solutions that contribute very positively to healthy, future landscapes for all. We have provided a brief overview of the project below.
As a landscape architect herself Ruiz Arana begins the six year research report by questioning whether her peers have the skills and knowledge to assess existing soundscapes and aims to widen their knowledge on sound by providing a framework for future ‘soundscape architects’.
The study provides a series of recommendations for the industry across the various stages of a project, beginning with considerations for the site and contextual analysis stage focusing on the focus area and its surroundings, from how sound is restricted and travels within and outside of the area. It also suggests analysing the impact of sound on the site’s existing habitats and ecosystem.
It also calls for the expansion of Landscape and Visual Impact Assessments to include sound within Landscape Architect’s remit through the development of a robust methodology for soundscape assessment, characterisation and simulation.
The part of the report that we found most interesting related to materials and planting options, a big emphasis is placed on the aesthetics of a material at the design stage but not necessarily the sound the material produces once in place and explains how hard and soft materials will emit different sounds which could make a significant difference to user perception and their emotional experience within the space.
Ruiz Arana suggests that the presentation of proposals could include an element of auralisation to further enhance the visualisation of the design rather than highlighting sound something that needs to be controlled or mitigated.
The final area of the project focuses on the need to include sound strategies as an essential training and development topic for the industry.
Speaking about winning the 2020 Innovation Award Ruiz-Arana said: “Our profession is constantly evolving, adapting and innovating, as attested by the inspiring projects and ideas celebrated at this year’s LI Awards.
“In winning the award I am extremely grateful and honoured to be recognised as a part of that innovation that pushes our profession forward. As per our profession, this guide is also constantly evolving, by responding to the latest soundscape research and testing findings on the ground through projects. In the coming months I am hoping to turn the guide into a book for research and practice to help all those Landscape Architects interested in thinking and designing with their ears.”
To read more about Thinking With My Ears by Usue Ruiz-Arana click here.
Find out more over at the Landscape Institute website.