Sonic Study

Sonic Study -

a visitor center study model was covered with a reflective material and a laser pointer was used to simulate traffic noise. The pointer was distanced from the model to scale and moved as traffic would around the site. Time-lapse photography captured the result of probable focused traffic noise.

the elevation facing campus has the same reflective quality and could offer an interesting alternative program as a sonic venue for music performances and assemblies where natural amplification would result. The form resembles a “bandshell” that is often designed into modern amphitheaters.



Virginia Tech University seeks to create a predominant approach and entry for campus. From Route 460 and Prices Fork, this new approach will terminate at a location that will site a new building to function as a visitors center. This building and site is the context of this inquiry.


An architectural response to the cultural idea of welcoming visitors must consider the identity of the school, and will invite visitors based on their diverse backgrounds. What cultural idea reflects the collective memory of a diverse set of visitors? What does “to welcome” look like in architecture?

A doorway was selected as a metaphor to this question and was executed quite literally in designing architectural form. The challenge for the architecture is to accommodate the program and exist to create a lasting impression and experience for visitors that reflect the culture and place of Virginia Tech.


The scope of this project included assignment from both studio design and environmental building systems instruction. The following resources document study from these two perspectives (click slideshows/videos for larger presentation formats).

  • Comprehensive Environmental Design Study (5 MB PDF) --> click here
  • initial sketch studies for form

  • renderings of interior program space

  • Model Photography

  • Animation - January dawn to dusk solar/shadow simulation

  • Animation - June dawn to dusk solar/shadow simulation

  <--back to work