While I was at the Product Architecture Lab, I somehow became involved in the field of acoustics. Initially motivated by an interest in the relationship between forms and sounds (in musical instruments), I eventually undertook a research project involving the creation of acoustics related software tools. Even though sound is an integral quality of an architectural space, it is rare for designers to engage actively with acoustics in their designs. Instead this responsibility of dealing with the acoustic aspects of a project is often delegated to engineers and even then it is usually in terms of 'problem-solving or minimizing'. A group of us decided to address this issue and embarked on creating software tools geared towards visually inclined designers. A series of Revit and Grasshopper tools were created and this work was eventually presented at the Advances in Architectural Geometry conference in 2010.
My role in the team was to write the acoustics simulator for Grasshopper/Rhino (BAAT) using a custom ray-tracer and an object model. The work that we did, the AAG paper and relevant plugins can all be found at the project website - Design Space. Unfortunately, I wrote all these code a while ago before RhinoCommons came out and the components are no longer compatible with the latest versions of Grasshopper (anything above Grasshopper 6). Thankfully, I may have found a block of time to update all the code this month and will post this up at the website. The creation of such custom software components will also be a key topic in the upcoming PAE Summer Workshop. Eventually, the acoustics team has discussed the open sourcing of the project as most of us are too busy to take an active role in developing the project further. So stay tuned for more information regarding this.