Designing for Sound In Our Everyday Spaces

The syn chron space by Carsten Nicolai was designed to combine experiences of sound and light. Image Courtesy of artcentron.com

In this interesting article in the New York Times, Allison Arieff highlights the often unconsidered importance of sound in architecture (outside of theaters and museums at least). She profiles the work of Acoustic Engineers at ARUP who have begun to work inschools and hospitals, taking into account the effects poor sound environments can have on us in our everyday lives. You can read the full article here.

Soundscape Architecture: A New Way to Experience Famous Buildings

The inside of the New York Guggenheim Museum. Image © Flickr CC User Fernando Carrasco

There are many forms of architectural representation – from sketches to construction drawings to photographs – but they all privilege vision over any of the other senses. This problem has perhaps only been exacerbated by the internet, which has made it easier to ‘experience’ buildings from afar, to the detriment of four of the five senses.

Now though, Karen Van Lengen, the Kenan Professor of Architecture at the University of Virginia, has created Soundscape Architecture, a website that aims to redress this imbalance. In collaboration with artist James Welty and musician Troy Rogers, Van Lengen has used recordings of iconic architectural spaces to create synaesthetic animations and musical compositions of the ambient noise there.

Read on after the break for more about Soundscape Architecture

Making Space Resonate: Incorporating Sound Into Public-Interest Design

The syn chron space by Carsten Nicolai. Image Courtesy of artcentron.com

“The modern architect is designing for the deaf.” Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer makes a valid point. [1] The topic of sound is practically non-existent in modern architectural discourse. Why? We, as architects, think in terms of form and space; we balance scientific understanding and artistic vision. The problem is, we have a tendency to give ample thought to objects rather than processes and systems. Essentially, our field is ocular-centric by nature. So how do we start to “see” sound? And more importantly, how do we use it to promote , safety and well-being?

TED Talk: Why Architects Need to Use their Ears / Julian Treasure

In architecture we talk about space and form.  We talk about experience and meaning.  All of these qualities are inextricably the sensory experience of light, touch, smell and .  Sound expert Julian Treasure asks architects to consider designing for our ears, citing that the quality of the acoustics of a space affect us physiologically, socially, psychologically and behaviorally.

More after the break.

Bernhard Leitner: Sound Spaces

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“I can hear with my knee better than with my calves.” This statement made by Bernhard Leitner, which initially seems absurd, can be explained in light of an interest that he still pursues today with unbroken passion and meticulousness: the study of the relationship between sound, space, and body. Since the late 1960s, Bernhard Leitner has been working in the realm between architecture, sculpture, and music, conceiving of sounds as constructive material, as architectural elements that allow a space to emerge. Sounds move with various speeds through a space, they rise and fall, resonate back and forth, and bridge dynamic, constantly changing spatial bodies within the static limits of the architectural framework. Idiosyncratic spaces emerge that cannot be fixed visually and are impossible to survey from the outside, audible spaces that can be felt with the entire body. Leitner speaks of “corporeal” hearing, whereby acoustic perception not only takes place by way of the ears, but through the entire body, and each part of the body can hear differently.

- George Kargl, Fine Arts

   

AD Classics: Le Cylindre Sonore / Bernhard Leitner

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Architecture and create spaces with changing flexible contours. They create invisible territories which by not being limited by physical boundaries increase their impact. Of course, one argues that architecture is visual and expresses the will to establish limits and boundaries. While these boundaries are elementary, they cannot convey the complete adventure of architecture. Through its very essence the inside formulates an outside. And the exterior of a building creates further spaces, it gives rise to the city and all the subtle interconnections which make for the richness of the city.