Noisy airplanes aren’t just annoying; they can be bad for your health. Research has linked consistent exposure to airplane noise to high blood pressure and diminished reading comprehension in children. At Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, scientists have partnered with an architect to tackle noise pollution the most aesthetically pleasing way they know how: with land art.
In 2008, Schiphol assigned the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research to study noise following reports that neighbors could hear the ground vibrations of the airports planes from 18 miles away. The researchers discovered that noise decreased after nearby farmers had plowed their fields; the furrows they left in the earth managed to absorb sound. So why not replicate the phenomenon permanently?
The research team brought on Paul De Kort of H+N+S Landscape Architects to help devise a solution. On 80 acres of land behind the runway, Kort designed 150 symmetrical furrows that, from above, look like the work of aliens. Inside the furrows, you have typical park attractions like sports fields and bike paths.
The design served its purpose. The park was finished in 2013 and, according to Smithsonian, noise pollution in the area dropped to half its previous levels. Measurements showed that noise was below the recommended levels in all 35 monitoring locations.