Eloquent silence at Masthuggskajen


This is an excerpt from an article published in the Masthuggskajen newsletter, published by Älvstaden.

In August, an exciting project takes place in the Masthuggskajen area. Around 40 sound-muffling hexagons will be placed in the open space by the river to create a controllable urban soundscape. The innovation company IMCG that develops new solutions for sustainable cities leads the effort.

Noise pollution is a growing dilemma in many cities. In many cases, sound levels are even harmful to your health. This is why the innovation company IMCG on behalf of the Swedish Innovation Agency manages the project Controllable Urban Soundscapes, where quiet oases are created in the city centre. The project is in a research phase and IMCG has designated three test arenas. One of them is at the dock in the Masthuggskajen area. The other two are a bus stop at Chalmers, now in operation, and a residential area close to a motorway in London.

– Masthuggskajen is a good test arena for many reasons. The area is close to dense traffic. Also there is a big empty surface where we can build something temporary to try out materials and technology on a bigger scale, says Amanda von Matern, project manager for Controllable Urban Soundscapes at IMCG.

The technology, partly developed by the SP acoustics lab, is built on three principles: isolation, diffusion and absorption. Combined they almost eliminate sound waves. The construction is the shape of a hexagon and IMCG are planning to surround the space at the dock with 30-40 hexagons made out of glass, which means the view is preserved. Inside, there will be a playground built by Stena Line, which gives the demonstrator yet another dimension.

– The hexagons not only keep out the noise from traffic. They also dampen the sound of children playing in the space. Experience from the bus stop at Chalmers shows that people coming into the sound-muffled space also lower their voices, says Amanda von Matern. We believe children and parents will appreciate this. Especially parents.

Älvstranden Development is the customer in the Masthuggskajen project and the bigger purpose is to develop technology to be integrated in the urban planning. An evaluation will be made when testing is complete and Älvstranden Development and partners will then decide if the solution can be used on a bigger scale when Masthuggskajen and other dockside areas are permanently built up.

If you want to know more about the technology, it is described in this video clip.