Acoustic Barrier

Acoustic Barrier

Architect
VAA.ONL - the innovation studio of VAA.
Location
Utrecht, Netherlands
Project Year
2006
Category
Factories

Acoustic Barrier

VAA.ONL - the innovation studio of VAA. as Architects

The rules of the design game. The brief is to combine the 1.5km long sound reflecting barrier with an industrial building of 5000m2. The concept of the Acoustic Barrier including the Cockpit building is to design with the speed of passing traffic since the building is seen from the perspective of the driver. Cars, powerboats and planes are streamlined to diminish the drag. The swarm of cars streams with a speed of 120 km/h along the acoustic barrier. The barrier is seen and experienced as an one mile long building seen from the perspective of the highway. One of the main design rules is that the length of the built volume of the embedded Cockpit emerging from the Acoustic Barrier is 10 times more than its height. Only then it is guaranteed that the experience of the drivers passing by is smooth and gentle for the eyes. ONL strived for not distracting the passengers with sudden changes in the geometry.


Sixty seconds of architecture. The barrier can be described as a snake-like body crawling along the highway. Its light grey but translucent skin is patched with thousands of unique triangulated scales both reflecting and revealing the environment. The transversal sections of the long stretched body smoothly transform from concave towards convex faceted surfaces with occasionally emerging sharp longitudinal folds. The folds in the stretched body are essential stylistic elements to synchronize with the automotive styling features of the passing cars themselves. Designing in speed, a design technique where car designers are already familiar with, identifies itself as a new task for the architects, who are designing buildings along highways. It is the relative difference in speed bewteen the viewer and the viewed which is at stake here and which requires the automotive attitude from the designers. Parametric design concept. The concept for the Acoustic Barrier is based on a relatively simple set of related curves, describing a parametric relation between the height, width and length. These informed curves create the 3d envelope for the geometric volume. The evolving geometry is intersected with an parametric spatial constructive grid to create intersecting points between the 3d envelope and the constructive grid. The emerging point cloud of reference points describes the carefully designed geometry in a model only built out of points. Each point in the point cloud administrates a constructive node with its specific coordinates, parameters and values.The Acoustic Barrier contains approximately 7000 point-objects. The relations between the points describe the spatial constructive grid and the displacements of the steel profiles to support the scaling of the glass plates. All points and their relations are administrated in a database and commuicated with the CNC machines of the manufacturer.


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