Elevator Soundscape

This is an case study about redesigning the soundscape of elevator by using nature’s sound

Design Concept

Soundscape can change the experience of a person even when he/she is doing a routine task, which, in this case, is during the use of an elevator. Most of our daily activities involve the extensive usage of machines which might produce unwanted noise. This high volume of noise created by the machinery can suppress other sounds that are at a lower volume.

Although society have embraced the use of machineries and the modern city, it is rare for a fondness for machinery sounds. Machine noise is responsible for the greatest intensity of sonic pollution present in society. Frequent exposures to high volume of unwanted noise can result in individuals to be more prone to stress and depression. Therefore, soundscape at public places could to be redesigned so that unwanted noise can be dampened to create a better sonic atmosphere for the public.


The handicapped elevator operates at a slow speed with an annoying motor sound. My team have observed this during our 4 year studying in our school and had the same conclusion that Very few people want to use the elevator due to these factors.

Design Objectives

The acoustics in the handicapped elevator can be improved by suppressing the motoring sound. A variety of natural soundscapes were considered. A remix of relaxing sound can be installed inside the elevator to recreate the atmosphere.


Song Selection

The soundtrack that was selected to be introduced into the space originates from nature with serenity in mind. Various sound from forest ambience was selected and combined together into a single 5-minute looped track. Different sounds created by species of birds and animals are introduced slowly as the track progresses. We believe that this combination of nature and machinery would bring a balance and provide a new experience in the otherwise static, mechanically cold space of the elevator. According to Julian Treasure, author of Sound Business and chairman of noise consultancy The Sound Agency in , People find birdsong relaxing and reassuring. Many uses of birdsongs can be found in article The surprising uses for birdsong, By Denise Winterman as well.

###Equipment Selection

  • 2 X-mini speakers
  • EdirollR09 as playback device
  • Audio cables
  • Wire and Masking Tapes


2 X-mini speakers are attached to the ceiling board of the elevator, the audio cable is connected to the Ediroll through the gap in the ceiling. Ediroll is placed on the rooftop of elevator

The elevator Speakers on ceiling


The installation was successful in altering an existing mechanically mundane space of the elevator, has added value and provided a different experience for passengers. Natural sounds of the forest and birds helped in providing and invoking a sense of serenity, and has even prompted several passengers to stay within the space for a longer period of time.

Passenger’s feedback

Passemgers are invited into the experiment Passenger gives helpful feedback Passenger gives helpful feedback Passenger gives helpful feedback Passenger gives helpful feedback

  • Since the speaker is at the top of elevator’s tube, it is quite small when they are at level 1
  • The audio contain too many sounds of different birds and lack quiet moments. People don’t have wide variety of moments to appreciate the sounds.

What can be done to improve the design:

  • We can use wireless speaker to attached to the lift so that the sounds are more consistent at any level
  • Re edit the sound clip to give more variety of acoustic moments
  • Install an automation system to turn on the sound only when people use the life, there should’t have any sound when no one is not using it.


This text is extracted originally from the project’s official page