Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Architectural Sound

The work of architecture includes getting rid of sounds. No architect to our knowledge designs with sound, except in the instances where a water feature is added in an indoor or outdoor space. Mostly architects are trying to quash it. Or, they design to enhance sound, as in symphony halls or music studios. Over at BLDGBLOG, they have come up with a delicious and twisted idea. You have to think about it. They are talking about a man who felt that the music he had listened to had produced a sense of particular spaces, an architecture, if you will. The blogger says:

What if those subtle and distant architectural sounds (he had imagined) had actually been part of the CD? This would be music as the illusion of architecture. You could move into a house without a basement – so you purchase this CD, or download these tracks, and you uncannily achieve the sonic effect of having more floors below you. Or perhaps you want an attic, or even a next-door neighbor: you would buy soundtracks for architecture, architecture through nothing but sound.

For instance, think of the Francisco López album, Buildings. Buildings is "a work composed entirely of sound fragments López procured while wandering around big buildings in NYC," recording the "sounds of elevators, air conditioning systems, cables, pipes, air ducts, boilers, clocks, thermostats, video cameras, and so on." (You can actually listen to a brief excerpt).

So instead of an addition, or a home renovation – you would commission a piece of music; and for as long as that music is playing, your house has several thousand more square-feet... and a Tube line nearby... and distant boilers...
We can hear the sound of the future. Right now we're commissioning the sound of floor to ceiling bookcases. First the bookcases, then the new neighbor.

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