Sonic Stacks

a concept for an acoustic bookshelf system.
in partnership with Arcgeometer

It isn't a coincidence that libraries and bookstores always sound good. Books on shelves—varied in size and texture, covering large areas—are akin to purpose-built acoustic panels typically found in recording studios and concert halls.

The project aims to demonstrate that loaded bookshelves can effectively function as acoustic surfaces by absorbing and diffusing unwanted reflections.

Books arranged in a sequence of wells at varying depths help break up sound waves which contribute to excessive reverberation. By adjusting the dimensions of the wells, the setup can be tuned to affect specific frequency ranges.

Under the guise of a sizable library, Sonic Stacks can function as an acoustic intervention, improving the quality of occupants' experiences.

© Arcgeometer and Misha Volf, 2017.
renderings by Misha Volf.
photography by Zackery Belanger and Misha Volf.

As digital media becomes the preferred mode of knowledge sharing, the broader cultural status of material media like books becomes uncertain.

And while books are still far from obsolete, Sonic Stacks proposes a research and installation project which embraces the material presence of these bound objects and reimagines them as adjustable modules in an acoustical treatment system.