Sound Analysis 2: Final Verdict

After taking recordings from behind the wall, it seems that there is still a lot to do in order to reduce noise. It seems that the high frequencies, like those found around 4 kHz to 16 kHz are reduced on average, to a point where, a quick jumping from in front to behind the wall will have a significant change in noise levels. The main problem still continues to be the bass frequencies, from 40 Hz to 180 Hz, especially around the 60 Hz range. I would suggest that the next group focus on reducing the bass frequencies in order to create a quiet pocket park.

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The Sound Wall Completed: Ready For Testing

The prototype versions of what will hopefully be used to create a sound reducing pocket park along the green corridor is complete. After placing the daub (a mixture of clay, sand, straw and water) on the pallets, we waited till they were dry and installed them in their temporary locations.

First we had materials delivered to us by PCR Contractors, the group building the new engineering building. They gave us a good helping of clay, sand, rocks and a bale of straw.

Then we began to mix.

After the daub was mixed we were able to apply it to the pallets, let them dry, then install them. All went according to plan, now they need to be tested for sound canceling ability.

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Constructive Contributions!

The Tug Collective’s work is never done, but we’re certainly much closer to being done with the help of PCR Contractors, the company contracted to build the new Centre for Engineering Innovation on campus.

It turns out the build site was rich with things like clay, dirt, rubble, and even a bale of straw! A phone call to Darryl Rocheleau, a representitive of PCR, in response to a kijiji ad led us to a visit to the job site, which got us everything we needed to create the daub that formed the bulk of our sound wall experimentation process.

The CEI is, in its own right, an interesting green initiative. It represents the largest Gold LEED building in the region, and utilizes many green building techniques–such as a green roof, low-energy heating, and water recycling to name a few. Designed by B+H Architects, the CEI represents a commitment to excellence in environmental engineering by the University.

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Design Like You Give A Damn!

Design Like You Give A Damn is the name of a book by Architecture for Hunanity. I was told about this book and another, Design For The Other 90%, by Gaelyn from Tug Collective. I (Stephen) was very interested in these ideas of design from the beginning of the course. I am also very interested in implementing these ideas in my own practices within the near future. After Kevin and I began to work out methods of treatment for our pallet structure Gaelyn sent us a page from Design Like You Give  A Damn. This depicts our chosen construction methods.

“The pallets can be plastered in wattle and daub or filled with straw, rubble or other material for insulation.” -Design Like You Give A Damn, a project by I-Beam Design

The ability to re-use one of Windsor’s most plentiful object (the pallet) gives rise to the opportunity to create extremely low impact structures and community sites. Our group is doing experiments that will give insight into many aspects of this building method.

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Sound Incubator: Growth and Process

The gestation of the sound incubator has been one of creative discovery, beginning with our humble desire to create silence in order to better understand how sound effects the human condition–and evolving into an exploration of using transformational techniques to turn shipping pallets from trash to shields against the omnipresent traffic noise.

The idea began simply enough, we would create a wall between the student population and the intruding sound that would help improve the quality of life of the students as they traversed the desire path that has formed in front of the LeBel building.

Utilizing eco-friendly materials and principles of resonance, we had hoped to create an island of serenity in a sea of noise. Consequently we began to gather the materials, seen above, principally pallets, but also scrap wood of varying sizes.

The pile grew, and eventually construction began. In the intervening time our intention changed, through conversation and exploration of the nature of noise we gradually came to view the project as an attempt to create a pocket park, where students could rest and be shielded from the passing trucks. We built the wall with this concept in mind, including a weaving technique of thin strips of wood through the pallets to create something similar to a wattle, which (along with daub) became our chosen method for filling in the wall. This was chosen for its natural feel and low-environmental impact, as well as being an interesting way to transform our mundane materials into something more.

During today’s class, Stephen and I (Kevin Kapustiak) met with our instructors to further define the project, and discussed the future of the Sound Incubator. Ultimately we knew that our intentions were good, and methods had the potential to work–but we didn’t really know what would happen. Accordingly, the project became more exploratory in nature. A multitude of methods on a number of single-pallet panels, including the aforementioned wattle and daub, sod, plaster, and even newspaper have been discussed as potential sound barriers–and each will be tested in this new incarnation of the sound wall.

In the next few days, things will rapidly take shape and our logistics materials will become something more than they are.

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New Recordings From The NAFTA Super-Highway

I (Stephen Surlin) had previously done recordings and analysisfrom Huron Church road by the Lebel School of Visual Arts. The audio below is a mix of two recordings: the first is taken from behind the Lebel School where the sound of Huron Church is significantly quieter and even the faint chirping of birds can be heard in the background, the second part is taken from the front of the building by the Lebel Visual Arts Building sign.

The recordings work as a comparative analysis because they were recorded at the same level, therefore the difference in volume comes solely from an increase in environmental noise, rather than gain or attenuation from the recording device, which in this case was a high quality hand-held M-Audio Recorder.

Our team will be able to use this data to figure out what kind of noise we’re working with in the location of our “Pocket Park

Click Here to Listen to The Recordings

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Design Possibilities for the Sound Wall

These are photos of Gaelyn Aguilar‘s ideas for the sound wall entitled “Pocket Park”

Gustavo and Gaelyn have continued to stay in contact with Kevin and me (Stephen). Gaelyn has provided a rendering of the space and how the wall could possibly take form. The wall would be made from the pallets and other found materials we’ve been collecting and the sound absorbing bass traps can also be found around the “Pocket Park”.

After recording the noise that emanates from Huron Church Road, the NAFTA Super-Highway that flows in front of the Lebel School  of Visual Arts, I will be able to isolate certain “problem” frequencies. There seems to be a distinct pattern of resonant frequencies that are multiples of 60 Hz. This allows us to be able to focus on methods and materials that neutralize problem areas like 30, 60, 120, 1800, 8000 Hz.

We have also been able to collect an array of wood materials to build the main structure. We’re going to use different methods to create sound blockage by connecting two pallets and filling the centre with a bass absorbing organic material of some sort, and we will use weaving methods with flexible pieces of wood and etc. Construction will begin on Thursday with the help of Gaelyn and Gustove.

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The Birth of Sound Incubator

The sound wall is beginning to take shape. The one other member in my group, Kevin, was unable to make it to class tuesday, so I, Stephen, started some of the design research.  I have started to look at several designs for a noise reducing shelter or wall. The search was inspired by the theories behind Helmholtz resonators, and sustainable design made from recycled materials.

I was very inspired by the use of skids in the type of shelters that can be found on the website Design For The Other 90%, a design group that focuses on

“use of local construction techniques and materials to build affordable permanent structures. In Africa, a low-cost device compacts soil into blocks for cost-effective buildings. In the United States, multidisciplinary teams, often composed of volunteers, are creating transitional or permanent housing for the homeless, and even for entire neighborhoods such as the areas of New Orleans destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.”
-Design For The other 90%

These concepts lead me to consider the use of  ”local construction techniques and materials” which lead me to the pallet or skid. A very common material that can especially be seen on and around the NAFTA superhighway that makes up large portion of the Green Corridor.

“The majority of the world’s designers focus all their efforts on developing products and services exclusively for the richest 10% of the world’s customers. Nothing less than a revolution in design is needed to reach the other 90%.
Dr. Paul Polak, International Development Enterprises

Me and Kevin will be working in assosciation with the artist group Tug Collective. This group is made of Gaelyn Aguilar and Gustavo Aguilar, an interdisciplinary art initiative.

“Tug is a free-range, performative research collective that serves as a platform for addressing issues of social and cultural transformation.  Our work is collaborative (we are not autonomous, self-contained individuals) and non-hierarchical (we respect difference by weaving it into the process).  Our projects come from disparate moments and geographic locations, and reflect an ethos that connects cultural production with community engagement.  We look for cracks in the pavement.  We co-create and cross pollinate. We propagate a sense of place.” -Tug Collective

We are all looking forward to working with each other and seeing where our creativity takes us.

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The Green Corridor Intersession Course

Special Session May 10 – June 21, 2010

We are currently looking for enthusiastic students that are self-starters, independent thinkers and future leaders to assist in the realization of the following projects:

Artist Projects:  Anarcheology Lab

Excavating new narratives of people, places, events and artifacts in the Ambassador Bridge/ Green Corridor area. The goal of this component of the course is to broaden the range of narratives and to create new artifacts, documents and representations specific to these sites. Students will work with representatives of various artist collectives.

DodoLab (Waterloo),

Tug Collective, (Akron, Ohio),

Probosscis (London, UK),

Broken City Lab(Windsor),

Urban Green Space and Organic Gardening

Developing strategies for the implementation of organic food production in the University of Windsor community. Student will work with community partners.

Green Corridor Projects

Green energy production, electric tractor, alternative urban planning strategies, public art, urban landscape transformation, corporate sponsorship, the electric motorcycle, greenhouse design, and fundraising.

A course with real results!


Green Corridor Project Room: 135 LeBel Building

University of Windsor, Ontario

Lecture/Lab: Tuesday / Thursdays 4 – 9:50 PM

Contact: Rod Strickland, School of Visual Arts,

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Student Blogs

WIth the final exhibition looming, we have prepared ourselves for the final push to finalize […]

The semester is coming to a close, and boy have we been busy! We have […]

    Hello again, Team Windsor Revivers are back one last time with our final […]

Welcome back once more to our blog! It has been a very stressful week for […]

This past week has been the most exhausting and busy one. It was our last […]

» Read all of the student blogs


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