Are there any particular challenges that must still be overcome in terms of acoustics within classrooms today?
In my opinion, we should deepen the effect of bad acoustics on learning difficulties such as dyslexia, as we did in the project Io Ascolto, which I had the chance to participate in Torino, led by the neuroscientist Tiziana Sacco. Furthermore, I would encourage research on vocal effort and load by teachers which should be aimed to find best acoustic solutions for speaking in the classrooms. Both the problems, speaking and listening, should be faced together. In fact, it is expected that good speaking and a good speaking style will bring to good listening and learning.
You are part of a team that is organising a conference on acoustics in Italy called Forum Acusticum (11th to 15th September). Why is it important to have these kinds of acoustic conferences?
I am the general chair of Forum Acusticum 2023. We received more than 1270 abstracts for the conference that will be fully in presence. I am proud to take part to the group that brought to this participation. It will be the chance to discuss face to face the main topics of acoustics, at last after the covid pandemic. I have discouraged hybrid mode. I really believe that researchers should meet each other in person. Furthermore, we have organised a special summer school, co-chaired by my colleague Louena Shtrepi, with 8 hot topics which cover the latest new trends in research and innovation. We also organised a mentoring program and a Forum Laboris session to provide young acousticians the opportunity to get to know and establish connections to different kinds of employers.
What advice do you have for architects who want to design the “perfect” school?
I would suggest, as I said before, to catch the needs from the occupants. To listen their voice, their desires. I would say to stay in the school for a time before start designing it. Only in this way, they can provide a project that is made for them.