A polder solution
June 10, 2015 4:39 AM   Subscribe

De Kort used GPS to plow 150 perfectly straight and symmetrical furrows with six foot high ridges between them. In the valleys, he built mini parks and bike paths. He also incorporated art pieces that drew on the history of the project, like “Listening Ear,” a parabolic dish that is large enough to stand in. The sculpture amplifies the ambient sound, a nod to the park’s purpose of deflecting that noise.
How Schiphol tries to solve noise pollution: landscape art.
posted by MartinWisse (17 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Schiphol also contains within it a section with some fake nature, in case you would find it relaxing to sit on an obviously fake tree trunk and listen to obviously recorded bird noises while thousands of noisy people hurry past you.

Schiphol is pretty weird, is what I'm saying.

(However, whoever was in charge of the recent change there from at-gate security to centralized security deserved ALL THE HUGS AND CHOCOLATE. ALL OF THEM.)
posted by kyrademon at 4:54 AM on June 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

I love land art, and this works particularly well in aerial photographs, though it might be less amazing from the ground. I do like that they made the technical solution beautiful, rather than just imposing some structures -- I wish that was included in more design and building processes.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:02 AM on June 10, 2015

Yeah, I'd imagine it could quickly turn into a bleak dystopian horror scene, while still being just as effective at deflecting noise.
posted by Harald74 at 5:04 AM on June 10, 2015

Kinda related: How The Netherlands Stopped The Wind
posted by PenDevil at 5:05 AM on June 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

What a waste of money! They could have just used egg cartons.
posted by grumpybear69 at 5:15 AM on June 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

150 perfectly straight and symmetrical furrows with six foot high ridges between them

Looks like / works like an anechoic surface, only here we have an anechoic landscape. Clever.

“Listening Ear,” a parabolic dish that is large enough to stand in.

Ever stood in a bandshell?

The bandshell was invented before all the implications had been worked out about parabolae, but many are close to parabolic. This means that the hard internal surface reflects the sounds on stage in parallel lines out into the audience.

When there's no band on-stage, it also works in reverse, focusing sounds from out front to a focal area in the middle of the stage. I know of an old seldom-used bandshell in a park that faces an apartment building. Stand in the right place on that stage in the summertime and you can hear everything that goes on in those apartments.

Well, Monk's off the air now, but nevertheless I'm sure all you 'writers' out there are already stealing this anecdote for your next script/novel. Remember me in your wills.
posted by Herodios at 5:43 AM on June 10, 2015 [3 favorites]

Interesting. Thanks so much for posting this.

We recently flew in and out of Schiphol. Had no idea that's what I was looking at on approach and takeoff! I think I got some pics of this very thing on our approach to Schiphol when we were coming in from the UK.

Schiphol also contains within it a section with some fake nature...

Yeah! There was one indoor walkway we walked through on arrival that was full of bird sounds, accompanied by bird pictures on the walls. Really LOUD bird sounds. After an 8-hour transatlantic flight, it was a little startling.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:04 AM on June 10, 2015

Now if they would just do something about Heineken's uber-annoying Jumbotron at the taxi stand ...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:11 AM on June 10, 2015

I recently made my first trip to New York. I wanted to see Central Park (mostly because I am a big Law & Order fan and I wanted to see where the jogger found the body or where the dog found the jogger's body), but also because after a week in Boston and an NY a bit of green seemed appealing to an Iowa boy.

I was totally confused. Buskers everywhere, music from a large stage, and several paths with amplified sound (there was a roller skating party). The park was super crowded and finding even a place to sit where you were more than 10 feat away from someone else was impossible.

I'd thought the point was a bit off contemplative silence and green in the midst of a bustling city, but the park was worse that many of the streets. No quiet at all.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:17 AM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

Very cool-- thanks for posting!
posted by travertina at 7:15 AM on June 10, 2015

Brilliant. Thanks for posting.
posted by theora55 at 7:26 AM on June 10, 2015

I had a friend in grad school doing similar things with models of heating ducts about 20 years ago, to reduce the transmission of fan noise in buildings. In that case it was a wedge-shaped extension on the duct at a bend (turning a ╝ into a ╣). Neat to see it done on a much larger scale, and to be just as effective.
posted by cardboard at 8:10 AM on June 10, 2015

Anechoic landscape. So cool.
posted by Theta States at 8:20 AM on June 10, 2015

Speaking of bandshells, Cincinnati's Union Terminal (aka: The Hall of Justice) has whispering fountains in opposite corners that can carry a whisper from one to the other.
posted by Mick at 9:05 AM on June 10, 2015

I know the place well, Mick. Back when Union Terminal was still being used for its intended purpose -- a train station -- and regular folks didn't fly, my grandmother used to take the train to Chicago twice a year to visit the other side of the family. One visit was always near Christmas, so I got to see the place decked out for the season at the height of America's mid-20th Century boom. I sure remember those murals and playing with those "whisper fountains", tho' I don't think they called them that at the time.

A very impressive structure visually and acoustically, even without superheroes.
posted by Herodios at 9:40 AM on June 10, 2015

Speaking of airport sound reflections, I was startled by an unintentional one once in the Denver airport's main building. A flight was delayed so I had several hours to wander the mostly-empty giant building through the night, and I kept hearing this weird watery noise coming from the ceiling. But it would start and stop, and I could never figure out what was causing it—it seemed to come from a blank patch of ceiling.

After a while I figured out that the complex curve of the ceiling was acting as a parabolic reflector, concentrating the sound of a fountain across the way. You had to stand in just the right spot to hear it, but it sounded eerily like the fountain was hovering right there on the ceiling.
posted by traveler_ at 3:45 AM on June 11, 2015

Interesting, thanks for posting. And bonus points for the title!
posted by Ms. Next at 10:34 AM on June 12, 2015

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