Influence of Facade Materials on the Acoustic Environment



Photo of Alvaro Balderrama, M.Eng. LEED Green Associate

Alvaro Balderrama, M.Eng. LEED Green Associate

University of Applied Sciences, Ostwestfalen-Lippe

Photo of Daniel Arztmann, Prof. Dipl-Ing. M.Eng.

Daniel Arztmann, Prof. Dipl-Ing. M.Eng.

Head of Building Physics

Schüco International KG

Photo of Jens-Uwe Schulz, Prof. Dipl-Ing.

Jens-Uwe Schulz, Prof. Dipl-Ing.

University of Applied Sciences, Ostwestfalen-Lippe



Urban noise pollution is a major environmental health problem. International organizations are making efforts to prevent health damage due to high levels of noise in cities, but the design of the built environment typically neglects the acoustic impact of architectural projects. Building facades, covering a substantial part of the vertical surfaces of the urban fabric, have a significant effect on the wellbeing of the population and on the environmental impact of buildings. Facade geometries and materials interact with the diversity of sounds in the city composing soundscapes that influence the health, comfort, and productivity of people inside and outside of buildings. This study gives an overview of the elements involved in the composition of the urban soundscape and revises the potential effects of sound-reflective and sound-absorptive facades. With the purpose of exemplifying the integration of acoustic data into facade design processes, a parametric design workflow is developed to experiment with acoustic simulations of a street environment, alternating between sound-reflective and sound-absorptive facades.


In recent decades, the world has experienced unprecedented urban growth. In 2015, close to 4 billion people (54% of the world’s population) lived in cities and that number is projected

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Potential effects of sound-reflective façades

The Henninger Tower was a grain storage silo located in Frankfurt, Germany, built by Henninger Brewery in 1961. The 120 m, 33-storey, reinforced concrete tower was

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As described by Vorländer (2007), for the scope of predicting the exterior sound field, the absorption coefficient and the scattering coefficient for random incidence are important input data used in

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The workflow in Rhinoceros 3D, Grasshopper and Pachyderm Acoustic allows integrating acoustic data from different façade materials in a façade design process that benefits from the interoperability among these software

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Conclusion and Future Work

This paper gives an overview of the elements involved in the composition of the urban soundscape, and revises the potential effects of sound-reflective and sound-absorptive façades, including vegetated façades. By

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Rights and Permissions

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