Through the Hourglass: A Faithful Audiovisual Reconstruction of the Old Montreux Casino
In architecture, space is traditionally understood as a cumulus of forms, colors and textures that form a conceived area, or-in other words-architectural space design is mainly achieved by following visual concepts. The human experience of space, however, is multi-modal where light and sound, i. e., eye and ear are the main transducers through which space is perceived. Neglecting aural attributes in room design yields many risks in the overall perception of space, especially when perceptual cues conflict with our expectations in relation to the room's social and cultural context. State-of-the-art applications in room acoustics prediction and spatial audio reproduction enable the immersive perception and interactive exploration of room designs by establishing a direct link to their acoustical aspects through listening, called auralization. Auralization significantly helps to agree on decisions in room design since standard numerical metrics in room acoustics are often difficult to relate to aural phenomena without serious practice. Therefore, the assessment of space by direct listening enables not only an efficient planning of room acoustics but also adds a new creative dimension to the design. In the course of this article, we will provide some scientific, technical and practical background that takes a faithful auralization of virtual spaces. We will demonstrate that state-of-the-art algorithms and tools already enable a fast and easy design of acoustic spaces by the example of the virtual reconstruction of the oldMontreux Casino-an audiovisual installation that was exhibited at the Montreux Jazz Festival 2014 and featured full room acoustics simulation in combination with a 17-channel loudspeaker system for spatial audio reproduction.