by Philipp Maul

credit: Philipp Maul

SoundGuardian is a reaction to the continued construction of noise barriers alongside highways, hindering an appreciation of the surrounding landscape . Allowing a full experience of the landscape was the aim and foundation of this project, as well as the biggest challenge concerning the design and technological implementations.

SoundGuardian is designed as an integrated system on roads and highways, that subordinates itself to the landscape. Equally important factors for the project have been the auditory peace of residents and the instantaneous safety of drivers. Therefore SoundGuardian combines the characteristics of a noise barrier with those of a guard rail. An integrated early warning system caters for the safety of the subsequent traffic and contacts traffic control to ensure quick help. SoundGuardian points out the synergies between the important topics in contemporary road systems and shows that safety, insight, an emotional experience of the scenery and economic value don’t have to stand in contradiction with each other.

Function & Technology:

As previously mentioned SoundGuardian is a combination of a noise barrier and a guard rail. Its’ specifically curved shape is based on the results of a study, conducted by the European Union, which concluded that height could be reduced dramatically in accordance with the shapes of the barrier. The shape directly effects the sound bending and channels the sonic waves upwards. Because of this, a better noise reduction is achieved when compared to traditional sound barriers. At the same time SoundGuardian offers a continuous, solid and flexible impact protection that derives from the principle of the steel guard rail. Therefore it enhances the cars’ crumple zone in case of an impact. The materials used in the project allows the combination of all these functions without a cut back on the safety and noise reduction. Reflectors which are positioned between the sections provide a distinct road edge marking. An integrated early warning system activates automatically in case of an impact and ensures the safety for subsequent traffic. At the same time the system informs traffic control of the accident, ensuring fast and applicable help. The system is conceived to function well in extreme weather conditions and in sections of the road which are under construction. The project was based upon research sessions which were conducted with residents who are living next to very busy roads as well with people who drive longer distances regularly, as well as extensive reading into technological studies conducted in the field.

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