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Designing soundscapes for Terry Spinks Place

In 2012, LinkCity (formerly Bouygues Development) obtained planning consent from the London Borough of Newham for construction of a significant regeneration scheme now referred to as Hallsville Quarter. Part of those works included creating a more attractive gateway through a public space beneath the A13 flyover.

Anderson Acoustics acted as acoustic consultants for the planned redevelopment of a public space known as Terry Spinks Place, after the boxer Terry Spinks who came from the local area. Redevelopment would enable people to move more freely beneath the busy flyover and link the existing town centre, Hallsville Quarter and Canning Town station. We worked as part of a collaborative project team alongside experienced landscape and public realm designers, Turkington Martin and lighting consultants, Light Follows Behaviour.

The original soundscape of the area was very much dominated by the A13 traffic and a large traffic junction nearby. Redevelopment proposals specified the inclusion of sound as a positive element, deliberately creating a safer and more welcoming space for members of the public.

In order to inform design decisions, we actively used our SonicRoom to recreate and listen critically to the planned soundscape. Our scope included evaluation of the existing soundscape, identifying soundmarks, sonic arenas and sonic horizons. We also identified sources of noise and compared the noise levels on site with the World Health Organisation targets for amenity areas.

The site gave us a number of challenges to work around. Due to a lack of limited physical space, as well as a diverse number of underground services present, we were unable to add sources of natural sound, such as a pond or fountains for example. We also needed to ensure the finished soundscape would be low maintenance for ease of future management.

The chosen design included a system of loudspeakers incorporated into some of the lighting columns to be situated beneath the flyover. Sounds will be used during the day to help mask some of the traffic noise and during special events to play music and provide a PA system. Once in place, the sound system will be highly adaptable and programmable to complement the lighting system.

Each light can be activated separately to allow for customisable mood lighting, which may be integrated with the sounds used. As part of this project, we worked with the project team to develop a suitable loudspeaker that can be integrated into a lighting pole with minimum visibility.

Joe Baggaley, Principal Consultant at Anderson Acoustics Ltd commented “We believe the inclusion of soundscape design as part of the landscape architecture proposal was fundamental to winning the project. Landscape architects and master planners who incorporate sound design within their proposals not only address a key element in the human experience of place, but also differentiate themselves from their competition.”

At Anderson Acoustics, we regularly use this approach with architects, urban designers, policy makers and local communities during design and consultation processes.

More details about the progress of works at Hallsville Quarter can be found here.

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