Parametric acoustic surfaces

Publications: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


Acoustics are important performance criteria for architecture; however, architects rarely consider them, except, perhaps, when designing concert halls. Architectural spaces can be said to perform well or poorly in terms of their acoustic qualities. The volumetric geometry of a room as well as its surface characteristics determine the acoustic quality of a space. Acoustic engineering research has proposed several new types of surfaces that can alter the acoustics of architectural spaces in different ways (Cox 2009). By altering the geometry or material characteristics of the surfaces within a room in specific ways, the acoustics can be controlled. Once the geometric rules governing these acoustic alterations are understood, these rules can be encoded into a CAD system through parametric modeling or the use of computer programming. The architectural designer can then generate acoustically regulating surfaces according to desired performance criteria. In this way, acoustic engineering links to architectural design, and allows architectural design to become acoustically performance-driven.
This paper considers three primary types of acoustic surfaces: absorbers, resonators, and diffusers. Complex surfaces that combine these three performance characteristics in different ways are proposed. The relationship of geometry and material to the physical properties of sound is discussed, as is how parametric systems and computer programming techniques can be used to generate new types of acoustically regulating surfaces.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationACADIA 09: reForm() : Proceedings of the 29th Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA)
Number of pages8
Publication date2009
ISBN (Print)978-0-9842705-0-7
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventACADIA 2009 - Chicago, United States
Duration: 22 Oct 200925 Oct 2009
Conference number: 29


ConferenceACADIA 2009
CountryUnited States


  • complex geometry
  • digital design
  • acoustics

Artistic research

  • No


  • 1 Lecture and oral contribution

Parametric Acoustic Surfaces

Brady Peters (Lecturer)

23 Oct 2009

Activity: Talk or presentation Lecture and oral contribution

Cite this

Peters, B. (2009). Parametric acoustic surfaces. In ACADIA 09: reForm(): Proceedings of the 29th Annual Conference of the Association for Computer Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA) (pp. 174-181)