Sound Materials: Exploring the Use of Strong Wool for Sustainable Acoustic Textile Design
This research exists at the intersection between two industries; agriculture and architecture. The project is concerned with the production of wool, and its use within architecture for acoustic benefit. This practice based, material driven inquiry explores shared issues around sustainability and materiality within both agriculture and architecture. The practice addresses an oversupply of the strong wool fibre, alongside the increasing demand for affordable and sustainable building materials. The outcome of the research is a series of wool-based material experiments to inform the development of a future acoustic panel design. The research builds on existing findings around the mechanical properties of wool when applied in an acoustic context.
New Zealand strong wool is used as a base fibre for the experimental development of new materials in this research. Strong wool has historically been a champion fibre of the New Zealand craft and textiles industries. In recent decades, appreciation and demand for the fibre has dropped, this is reflected in the lowering market price of the raw material. Modern synthetic counterparts have become a more viable option as a base material for many mass-produced products formerly manufactured from strong wool. This decrease in appreciation has contributed to the label of ‘waste’ or ‘by-product’ being attached to strong wool. This research aims to assist in raising the value of strong wool and other by-product fibres and contribute to an increased perception of prematurely discarded or discounted materials. This research is funded by, and in collaboration with Palliser Ridge, South Wairarapa.