Inhabit Sound – Urban Acoustic Sustainability

6 months full time in presence 


The goal is to build a scalable and modular sustainable space for listening, contemplation and sharing, created by transforming sound into a tangible and livable form. Materializing sound, making it visible as if it were a crystal, a sustainable three-dimensional sculpture. Enlarge this sculpture to the point of making it a transitable/habitable sharing space, and in it perceive the dialogue between silence and sound, absence and presence of the self and the other, to elevate our psychophysical and emotional condition.  


Sound is a fundamentally invisible entity: a pressure variation transmitted in an elastic medium that becomes perceptible thanks to the auditory apparatus. It is an indispensable element of our existence because the auditory system, unlike the visual system, cannot be turned off. However, the very fact that hearing is always active does not imply that we are always aware of the sound stimulus, because the acoustic one is a type of information that acts strongly in the subconscious. Therefore, it would be desirable to give soundnot only a visual form, but also an architectural form. Renzo Piano had already provided an example of this approach in his conception of the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern. The architectural gesture is in this case a certainly effective metaphor, but it does not then translate into a conscious fruition of the sound for the observer, that’s why it is important to expand the architectural gesture beyond mere figurative metaphor and endow it with an educational, performative, and therapeutic intention, so as to create a holistic experience in which acoustic sustainability acts for collective comfort.


In the creation of this new acoustic environment, architects and designers are called upon to focus on sustainability and to investigate on innovative approaches in the relationship between the physical presence of an object-building and the perceptual experience of an observer, which are able not only to dampen unwanted sources, but also to orchestrate diversified sound content, educate listening and generate well-being.

Following a holistic approach Inhabit Sound will point at redesigning the dynamics of listening and making conscious use of sound for the affirmation of the collective identity in the city and its well-being.


Renzo Vitale – Project Track Leader

Sponsoring Partner

MINI (BMW Group)

Slide Foundations of Sustainability ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN THE RIGHT TO QUALITY SHELTER Project Track Healthy Materials and Sustainable Products