Michael Vorländer from Aachen University in Germany contributed with a very interesting feature article on auralization of spaces in Physics Today (June 2009).
It is important to be able to re-create the acoustic sensation of various kinds of spaces. The best possible future scenario would be to already at a design stage, be able to listen to what a space or a room would sound like in reality. This way one would be able to judge the acoustic outcome of using various materials, shapes, acoustic strategies etc.
Auralization is the process of making acoustic technical data audible. Today, we have come rather far in creating tools and understand the relevant mechanisms. Michael Vorländer describes the background and various concepts of auralization in both an understandable and technical way. He also points out what needs to be improved in the future. Issues of future interest are, for example, real-time processing, diffraction and sound-field physics.