Acoustical considerations in Auroville
"Evaluation of sound aspects has to become part of town planning", says Didier Weiss.
“Auroville’s architects continue to design houses and plan multiple housing projects without considering the problems of sound pollution”, points out Auroville’s sound expert Didier. Stating that “architects mainly consider aesthetics and costs and give little or no thought to the fact that their clients have to live with the noise produced by their neighbors and road traffic”, Didier suggests design reviews at an early stage of each design of houses and housing projects.
Didier is executive of Sound Wizard, a commercial unit that provides consultancy on the building of sound studios in India. Auroville architects, however, rarely ask for his expertise, and if they do happen to ask for it, they do it far too late, when the design is ready. “Till now, my advice has been ignored as it demanded a substantial changes in the house design or the lay-out of the complex. The architects were not ready to change their designs, it was too late. But the clients suffer the consequences”, he says.
Sound pollution is a real problem in the tropics where open windows are necessary for air-circulation and cooling. “The two go together. If you want to be 100% free from sound pollution and not emit too much noise yourself, you have to close all your windows and air-condition your house. But that is very costly and the energy consumption is unsustainable. The only answer is to design houses and plan collective housing projects in such a way that acoustical measures are incorporated and channel sound where it is not harmful to anyone”, says Didier. The present situation shows how correct he is. "Many people complain about noise caused by either neighbors or road traffic. Development plans are increasingly objected to because noise pollution is not taken into account and no remedying measures are being proposed", Didier says. "Noise is a problem, you can’t ignore it. This aspect needs primary consideration when detailed development plans are drafted, and should be checked when requests for building permission are submitted. Without a minimum of ‘sound planning,’ a city with such density as projected for Auroville cannot be built”.
- Courtesy Auroville Today -