Conference paper Open Access

Soundscapes for experiencing architecture in virtual reality – elements and considerations

Rudi Jøran

Immersive technologies are increasingly being explored in museum settings. The research project The Forest in the House(2018) was an intervention-based research project about construction and use of virtual reality in architectural exhibitions, realized as collaboration between University of Oslo (UiO), the National Museum, Notam and Atelier Oslo architects. Physically, the project consisted of a full-scale, multi-level model where the visitors could walk, and they would be able to switch between two virtual environments experienced through VR-goggles, headset and loudspeakers. Two dynamic soundscapes were constructed to fit with the visual models, and novel combinations of sound diffusion models were employed. Visitor reactions recorded on video, in questionnaires and in post-exit structured interviews were the basis for the project’s findings.

Key findings: 

Visitors’ sense of “being there” was high, despite typical low retention of details in the presented soundscapes. Difficult acoustic conditions in the exhibition space did not seem to affect the overall appreciation of the soundscapes, and the unconventional delivery method of combining a pseudo-VBAP loudspeaker setup with headset delivery did not trigger any reservation among the visitors.  Indoor and outdoor composed acoustic environments were accepted as credible and of positive value to the visitors, indicating that the simplified acoustic modeling of indoor and outdoor soundscapes, as well as the simplified delivery methods, was of lesser importance than the semantic connotations of the content

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