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A glass oasis

In today’s cities, noise levels are high and a constant background presence. Is it possible to create built environments that eliminate this disturbance? The project Quiet Public Spaces creates breathing space with the aid of hexagonal glass structures.

The disturbance caused by traffic noise is not simply an irritant, it can also disrupt sleep patterns, cause a deterioration in performance levels and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. As cities expand and traffic increases, quiet spaces are increasingly at a premium in our urban environments.

The Quiet Public Spaces project explores concepts for creating noise-dampening locations.

“We are now in the third phase of the project, and there is a major emphasis on designing spaces that feel right to those using them,” says Jerry Eriksson, a specialist in glass technologies at RISE.

Spaces consist of hexagonal (six-sided) modules with glass walls. Noise reductions of 20 dB have been measured in comparison to surrounding environments.

“Sound is dispersed by the hexagonal form, while the glass has its own noisedampening qualities, being heavier and laminated to provide increased density, something that also reduces certain frequencies,” says Jerry Eriksson.

Modules can be assembled much like Lego bricks. Using a single module, or a few joined together, it is possible to create a quiet space – for example on a public square – while large numbers of modules can be linked to create an acoustic barrier along a major road.

RISE is participating in the project as a research partner.

“Among other things, we contribute expertise in acoustic measurement and technologies in that field,” says Jerry Eriksson.

Quiet Public Spaces

Quiet Public Spaces is a concept for creating noise-reducing spaces for people using hexagonal glass. The disturbance caused by traffic and urban background noise is reduced using advanced technologies to create a pleasant sound experience. The concept is being developed in the direction of commercialisation and is being broadened to include building products and schools, as well as to support the development of policies and directives.

Partners: IMCG, RISE, Universeum, Akademiska Hus, Johanneberg Science Park, Hydro, Watteriet, Mayor of London, Alufront, Chalmers and the University of Gothenburg.