M.A.S.H. Mobile Absorptive Sound Harness

Amsterdam, Netherlands


7,130,00 SF

One of the most challenging issues facing airports around the world, noise has arguably become the leading generator of neighborhood discomfort and in turn, lawsuits. At Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the problem was significant enough and the solution to the problem so elusive that the Schiphol Group, the airport operator organized an international competition seeking a solution that is at once effective, sustainable, and iconic in design.

Problem: Create a better sound barrier
Why: Neighboring community losing windows during jet take-off.
Big Technical Issue: Sound Barrier has to be close to the edge of the runway during take-off but cannot be near the runway during landing pattern.
Solution: M.A.S.H. – Mobile Absorptive Sound Harness

Our unique design employs repurposed old rail cars that form the movable sound barrier, mounted with a 12.5-meter high structure of recycled tires to absorb sound.

The design is simple: lay a series of railroad-style tracks, install a series of flatbed rail cars with a steel frame structure on the tracks, hang wall panels made from recycled rubber tires on the rail car structures, attach electrical drive wheel assemblies [similar to ones that move stadium roofs] to make the rubber tire walls mobile and then finally build a house [or sheath] that the mobile walls can slide in and out of.

The material best suited to attenuate low frequency sound waves is a heavy, limp, decoupled mass. The sheer size of these walls and the Dutch history of frugality led us on a search for a cast-off material with the desirable properties, and one which is readily available in the necessary quantities. We found that recycled tires, available in abundance, provide the perfect texture and low cost solution.