There are hundreds of ways that screenwriters, directors, cinematographers, production designers, and editors can shape their crafts so that sound design can be used more powerfully. This is the first in what I intend to be a long series of short suggestions along those lines.
If you truly want a place or a thing to be a character in the story, then you must give it an occasional monologue. You have to arrange for it to “speak” without being masked by the speech of other characters. The human voice and the musical voice need to be absent or subordinated for a moment or a sequence so that the landscape, or the machines, or the creatures, or the air can be heard, and understood. Doing this effectively will often require a scene be photographed in a certain way. It’ll require actual collaboration: each craft being performed with regard to every other craft… a process that sound is usually excluded from.