Updated urban facade design for quieter outdoor spaces


  • Jochen Krimm TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment
  • Ulrich Knaack TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment
  • Holger Techen Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Department of Architecture-Civil Engineering-Geomatics





acoustics, soundscape, geometry, facades, design parameter, noise, scale


The increasing migration into cities leads to an increasing number of people stressed by noise. More and more people are moving into urban settings comprised of multiple noise sources and hard reflective glass and steel facades. The omnidirectional arrangement of noise sources like airborne noise or car traffic noise and their reflection on the facades neither composes urban arrangements with silent indoor areas nor comfortable quiet areas outdoor. To come up with requirements for silent areas inside and outside of buildings further design parameters have to be introduced. The facade is not only a shelter for the inside it can also provide comfort spaces outside the building. As engineers and architects we cannot change the noise source, but we can influence the impact on the surrounding urban space by controlling the reflection of noise emissions on the urban surfaces like facades. In a facade design the capability of reflecting noise can be tuned by modifying the surface. In order to come up with the acoustical needs no radical new way of facade design has to be introduced. Mainly a shift of attention to the acoustic parameters is needed. Based on acoustic measurements of basic geometry principles this research presents known facade designs and their acoustic parameters regarding the reflection capabilities and the functions in a facade.

How to Cite

Krimm, J., Knaack, U., & Techen, H. (2017). Updated urban facade design for quieter outdoor spaces. Journal of Facade Design and Engineering, 5(1), 63–75. https://doi.org/10.7480/jfde.2017.1.1422




Techen, H., Krimm, J., (2014) Akustische Fassaden, Fortschritte der Akustik - DAGA 2014, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Akustik e.V. (DEGA), Berlin, pp 846-847

Europaen Noise Directive, (END) Directive 2002/49/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 June 2002, THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION, Official Journal L 189 , 18/07/2002 P. 0012 - 0026,

Myck, T., (2015). Die Lärmsituation in Deutschland nach der Umgebungslärmrichtlinie (conference contribution). Retrieved from https://www.dega-akustik.de/fileadmin/dega akustik.de/DEGA/aktuelles/symposium/9_symp_myck.pdf, p 15

Kranendonk, F & Nijs, L. (1979) Akoestisch optimaleoriëntering van bouwmassa’s nabij verkeerswegen, Delft: Z. Uitg,

De Ruiter, E. P. J., (2005) Reclaiming land from urban traffic noise impact zones. Delft: University of Technology, Delft, 2005

Lugten, M., (2014) re-sil(i)ence, design patterns for an aircraft noise abating spatial environment. Delft: University of Technology, Delft

Kang, J., Schulte-Fortkamp, B., (2015) Soundscape and the Built Environment, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Wiener, F., M., Malme, C., I., Gogos, C., M., (1965) Sound Propagation in Urban Areas, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 37, 738.

Lyon, R., H., (1974) Role of multiple reflections and reverberation in urban noise propagation, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. (1974), pp. 493–503.

Bullen, R., Fricke, F., (1976) Sound propagation in a street, Journal of Sound and Vibration, Volume 46, Issue 1, 8 May 1976, pp. 33-42.

Picaut, J., Simon, L., (2001), A scale model experiment for the study of sound propagation in urban areas, Applied Acoustics 62 (2001), pp. 327-340.

Van Renterghem, T., Botteldooren, D., (2008) Numerical evaluation of sound propagating over green roofs, Journal of Sound and Vibration, Volume 317, Issues 3–5, 11 November 2008, pp. 781–799.

Van Renterghem, T., Botteldooren, D., (2009)Reducing the acoustical façade load from road traffic with green roofs, Building and Environment, Volume 44, Issue 5, May 2009, pp.1081–1087.

Van Renterghem, T., Botteldooren, D., (2011) In-situ measurements of sound propagating over extensive green roofs, Building and Environment, Volume 46, Issue 3, March 2011, pp. 729–738.

M. Hornikx, J. Forssén,(2008) Noise abatement schemes for shielded canyons, Applied Acoustics 70 (2009) 267–283

M. Hornikx, J. Forssén,(2010) Excess attenuation for sound propagation over an urban canyon, Applied Acoustics, Volume 71, Issue 6, June 2010, pp. 510–517.

Rayleigh, J.W.S.,(1915) The principle of similitude, Nature 95, No.2368, Nature Publishing Group, retrieved from: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v95/n2368/index.html, at 19-03-2016, 22:00.

Schuring, D., J., (1977) Scale models in engineering, Pergamon Press, Oxford.