Imagine being able to hear what your project will sound like, and understand how design choices will shape future experiences. An environment where you can explore and understand every aspect of sound and noise, and then use it to shape desired outcomes. This is the Arup SoundLab. 

SoundLab is a collaborative environment where project constituents and stakeholders come together answers to fundamental questions like ‘how will the orchestra sound in different seats in this venue?’, ‘how much noise from this new railway will we hear at our residence?’, ‘will these patient rooms be quiet enough to allow an optimum recovery experience?’, or ‘how much traffic noise will I hear in this new building’. By providing objective, quantifiable information in an accessible format, through listening, SoundLab makes the intangible tangible, demystifying and bringing greater client confidence that the design outcomes (and user experiences) will be as expected. 

SoundLab makes deeper use of data, artificial intelligence and machine learning, to extend the ways it can be used, drawing valuable insights from many thousands of completed projects.

We have used SoundLab to inform the design of some of the world’s best arts and culture venues, and to allow people to experience the impact of major infrastructure projects during the design process, shaping better design outcomes. SoundLab is also used alongside a range of immersive reality tools, including immersive projections, augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality visualisation to enable multi-sensory design development in projects. SoundLab® is a core tool in all the acoustics design work we undertake.

Soundlab Video cover
Find out more about how SoundLab works

Design you can experience

The first iteration of SoundLab was deployed in 1998, and continues to be refined and upgraded today. We have incorporated enhanced visualization and haptic capabilities in our ExperienceLab environments, and developed mobile versions to take to clients and stakeholders. Each lab offers a rich and revelatory experience, helping clients to experience, explore and understand their project, well before physical completion, and to build public understanding and support often vital to successful public projects.

SoundLab adds value to any project, from its earliest stages, through concept development, all the way to design, construction and operation. Its analysis, modelling and design insights are relevant to user experiences in almost every sector.

Discover how we’re using SoundLab to help our clients:

Arts and culture

Fine tuning the audio performance of the world’s most important musical venues.

Arts and culture

Soundlab has been used to fine tune the audio performance of many of the world’s most beloved musical venues.

Using SoundLab for the Royal College of Music

Arup’s SoundLab was used to help the The Royal Academy of Music evaluate the complex interaction of background sound from ventilation with existing noise from the surrounding city, such as nearby underground train lines. This helped them understand the various design options and confirm the building they wanted.

Learn more about how Soundlab enables incredible acoustic performance in cultural and performance venues.

The science of acoustics has developed greatly in the last few decades, and we are often approached when older concert spaces wish to modernise and improve the acoustic performance the space will offer to meet a new audience’s expectations.

Working at a smaller scale, we were also able to use Soundlab to help Björk to realise her dream of singing in her natural voice, in the spaces that she experienced as a developing musician in her native Iceland, and bring them to the live stage.

Find out more about our work with Bjork

Energy

Building understanding and support for renewable energy infrastructure.

Wind farms

As the energy transition accelerates, it’s important to be able to build and retain support for the new renewable energy infrastructure we need to develop

Windfarm
A detailed look at what a wind farm in Tasmania would sound like with normal background noises.

On-shore wind energy is a key context in which that understanding needs to be developed.

Hydro Tasmania used SoundLab auralisations as part of the community consultation for its proposed 200-turbine TasWind wind farm at King Island. The auralisations used calibrated and verified sound recordings from the existing Studland Bay Wind Farm together with real existing background noises for areas considered for new wind farms. People could hear for themselves what the proposed new turbines would sound like at their properties.

Property

Acoustic analysis for developers and owners focused on the user experience.

Property

In dense and growing cities, acoustic analysis becomes important as developers and owners focus on the user experience they want their building or asset to offer.

For commercial, retail and residential property projects, it’s most often the impact of nearby transport systems that requires careful assessment. We have used SoundLab and ExperienceLab to assist property owners to understand these impacts and determine best mitigation approaches, be they at the building, in the transport system, or a combination of both, maximising land use and value.

Transport

Vital noise impact studies for public transport networks and services.

Transport

Whether expanding an existing network, or introducing new rail systems, SoundLab and mLab have been used successfully to take noise impact studies into communities.

HS2 SoundLab experiments

A number of simulations were prepared for HS2 Ltd to illustrate what high-speed trains might sound like along the route.

This approach has allowed these communities to experience, and in many cases navigate through examples themselves, to foster better dialogue, and understanding.

Our work on high-speed rail in the UK has often called on Soundlab’s insights, to help different stakeholders and communities to understand the impact of trains’ route and speed. In this way it has been fundamental to the consultation and support for different elements of the proposed HS2 network.