Highway noise barriers are those walls constructed along the sides of highways where development occurs, and where the residents do not want to hear or see the cars speeding by. These structures are usually commissioned to engineers and manufacturers instead of designers and are often not aesthetically pleasing.
Here’s just a small portion of the 10 million square feet of noise barriers that I am exposed to on my way to work:
I can assure you this wall won’t be winning any design awards, but these big pieces of precast concrete will continue to be built by a government that doesn’t want to pay too much for what sadly is becoming more and more required. What I am about to show you is three well designed sound barriers. Some of these examples bring the architecture to the road instead of using the barrier to separate the two.
The Sound Tube in Melbourne, part of the Citylink tolled freeways in Australia, is a steel structure that reduces noise pollution to nearby community housing towers.
Sound Tube on the Tullamarine Freeway in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
The Acoustical Barrier + Hessing Cockpit by ONL is a one-mile concave stretch of steel structure with glass panels, reflecting sound back to the highway. Inside there’s a car showroom called Hessing Cockpit. This one might not be suitable for South Florida but still a great design idea.
Acoustical Barrier + Hessing Cockpit by ONL
Brembo Sound Barrier and Research Office by Jean Nouvel