Heriot-Watt academic invited to 40th Anniversary of the Institute of Acoustics

Alistair Somerville (left), Chairman of the IOA Scottish Branch, and Dr Laurent Galbrun (right).

Dr Laurent Galbrun, from the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design, was invited to give a speech at the special event organised by the Institute of Acoustics (IOA) to celebrate its 40th anniversary.

The event was arranged by the Scottish Branch of the IOA and took place on Thursday 13 November at Edinburgh Napier University. The short conference was attended by around 60 delegates, including government and industry stakeholders, practitioners and academics.

Soundscape design for the built environment

Dr Galbrun's presentation was entitled 'Soundscape design for the built environment' and illustrated examples of soundscape research undertaken at Heriot-Watt University. This included the audio-visual and perceptual analysis of waterscapes used for road traffic noise masking, and the analysis of multi-lingual speech intelligibility in enclosed spaces, in relation to the particular issue of cross-cultural communication. The presentation drew on work carried out by the PhD students Tahrir Ali, Francesca Calarco and Kivanc Kitapci.

Dr Galbrun said, "I was delighted to see that our research was received with great interest and curiosity. This was demonstrated by the many questions asked both after the presentation and during the dinner. The work was considered to be fundamental and innovative, delegates recognising the need for soundscape research that goes beyond the basic concepts of noise levels and noise annoyance. Acoustic design cannot solely rely on quantitative approaches: research such as ours highlights the importance of perceptual analysis for identifying appropriate design solutions that are most effective in improving acoustic comfort."