Cone of SilenceArchitects Joel Sanders and Karen Van Lengen worked together on the Sound Lounge at the University of Virginia School of Architecture, where Van Lengen is a professor. Students can sit beneath large lamplike cones that are wired for sound and share playlists as they study, activating a descending sphere of enveloping sound, which is also a casual social unit. Illustration Courtesy Joel Sanders Architect.

“Critics of new media argue that ubiquitous new devices isolate us,” Sanders says. “But mobile technologies like iPhones are audiovisual. Sound now plays an increasingly important role.”  Photo 1 of 3 in The World of Sound