A few years ago I accompanied Peter Zumthor, the Swiss architect, to a tiny chapel he designed in Sumvitg, Switzerland, a mountain village. The chapel is a shingled, one-room building, shaped a little like a ship. The latch on the door made a loud clunk when it caught the strike. My footsteps creaked on the soft floorboards. Mr. Zumthor had masterminded the effects, orchestrating materials, space and acoustics into a satisfying whole.

“Sound is really important,” Ricardo Scofidio, from Diller Scofidio & Renfro, who helped design the High Line, acknowledged. But then he said, unless you’re an architect designing a concert hall, “you’re not thinking about how you might produce a specific sound.” He added, “That’s partly because the process of making models and drawings doesn’t allow for it.” Besides, clients don’t ask much about what a house will sound like.

And yet.

Mr. Scofidio called me back. He said that since we had spoken, he had found himself conjuring the sounds of certain places. He recalled the acoustics of a round elevator in the Cooper Union building in New York, as well as Grand Central Terminal, “where suddenly you’re aware of your footsteps, and that sound lets you feel your physical presence in the space.”

Ambient noise in Grand Central rises upward and outward, toward the hall’s immense ceiling, embodying the impression of the terminal as a soaring gateway to a great metropolis, promising adventure.