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biographies Justin Bennett (1964) originally British, studied sculpture in Sheffield and sonology at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. He completed his education in the early 1990s with a post-graduate study at the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. He has been living and working in The Hague since then. The sounds of the city, in all their diversity, are an important part of his work. He makes ‘sound cards’ of cities such as Beirut and The Hague, in which he alerts the listenerobserver to phenomena that initially are not immediately perceivable. He continues to do this in an original and experimental way, without resorting to tricks or ‘formats’. Bennett explains his fascination for sound as follows: ‘Noise is the sand between your toes, the chink in the chain, the music that keeps you awake and the sea that lulls you to sleep. Noise is coincidence, chance and luck. Noise is the vibration of life itself.’

Barry Blesser received his Ph.D. in 1969 from mit, and for the following nine years, he continued as an associate professor of electrical engineering and research scientist in the Cognitive Information Processing Group. One of the pioneers of digital audio technology during the 1970s, he developed the first commercial artificial reverberation system, which was used extensively in adding spatiality to recorded music. For the last 40 years, he has provided technical and management consulting services to more than 50 companies worldwide, founded several high-technology companies, received numerous patents and published in a wide variety of professional journals. In 2006, after five years of reseach on the physical and cognitve experience of sound in space, mit Press published his book Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? Experiencing Aural Architetcure.

Berend Jan Bockting (1983) studied media and culture as well as journalism and media at the University of Amsterdam. He has written for, amongst others, the vpro Gids and De Groene Amsterdammer magazines. He is currently an editor with de Volkskrant newspaper, where he writes about media, art and film. He likes personal, human stories behind the art and the artists, and he has a weakness for abandoned industrial sites, reflective skyscrapers, and the artistic extremities in electronic music and Asian cinema.

Sound artist Cilia Erens (1946), a planner by training, introduced the so-called ‘sound walk’ to the Netherlands in 1987. She uses everyday, mostly unmixed sound in her sound walks, sound panoramas and soundscapes. She is able to penetrate deeper layers of being without resorting to text, using the ‘audible space’ as her speciality. One of her best-known works is Silencer, a sound performance about the silence of not speaking. In every artwork about sound, the chosen form is part of the content. Listening to her compositions always results in a new reality within the existing one: an ‘augmented reality’. Countless listeners experienced that during sound walks in Rotterdam, Taipei, Broekpolder, Amsterdam, Berlin, Yogyakarta and other places.


biographies Raviv Ganchrow (1972) completed his architectural studies at the Cooper Union, New York in 2000, and received a second degree from the Institute of Sonology at The Royal Conservatoire in The Hague in 2004. His practice focuses on interrelations between sound, place and listener, aspect of which are explored through sound installations, writings as well as the development of sound-forming technologies such as Wave Field Synthesis. His sound installations and sound works have been exhibited in the usa, France, Austria, the Netherlands and Norway. He has been teaching architectural design in the graduate programme at Delft University of Technology, and is currently a faculty member at the Institute of Sonology.

After being classically trained as a pianist and composer in Poland and Russia from the age of five, Sebastian Janusz (1978) began his architectural education in Poland and Germany and completed his master’s degree at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture in 2005. He gained his professional experience while collaborating with well-regarded architectural practices including Herman Hertzberger, nl Architects and Abbink De Haas architectures. Currently he combines practicing architecture with composing and performing his music. His architectural projects have been exhibited in arcam, the Amsterdam Centre for Architecture, while his compositions have been performed in het Concertgebouw Amsterdam and Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam, among others. In his work he concentrates on the dialogue as an effective means of on-going communication. Its target is to increase view of multiple perspectives in order to create a new understanding of a situation that demands change. Amsterdam, a city which has a long tradition of culture and debate, plays a key role in this process. He is a visiting critic at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture and at the at the Delft University of Technology.

Maarten Kloos (1947) studied architecture at the Delft University of Technology from 1966 to 1976. During and after his studies he worked for various architects in Amsterdam and Paris. From 1979 onwards he taught architectural design at Delft University of Technology and at various academies. From 1981 to 1986 he was head of the department of architecture at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture. Over the years he has given many lectures at architecture schools and institutes at home and abroad. Kloos has written numerous articles for various publications, including foreign magazines such as L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui and Werk, Bauen + Wohnen. From 1976 onwards he published regularly in Wonen-ta/bk (which later became Archis). In addition, he was architecture critic for de Volkskrant newspaper from 1979 until 1986. Important books by Kloos include Le paradis terrestre de Picassiette , Alexander Bodon, architect, Schiphol Architecture and Godin van de Zuidas: De Minervalaan - as in tijd en ruimte. In 1986, Kloos co-founded arcam, the Amsterdam Centre for Architecture. In his capacity as director of arcam, he has organized many debates and exhibitions about new architectural and spatial developments in the Amsterdam area. He launched and is editor-in-chief of the arcam pockets, a series of multilingual paperbacks. In addition, Kloos has initiated much talked-about projects such as Boomtown Amsterdam (1988) and the (digital) map the arcam kaart (1995). In addition to his activities at arcam, Kloos has contributed to many public debates and publications and has been a member of various competition juries and advisory committees. He is a member of the board of the Van Doesburghuis Foundation in Meudon and the foundation Europan Nederland. Until recently he was also a member of the board of Platform Architectuur Lokaal. In 2000, Maarten Kloos was awarded the prestigious Rotterdam Maaskant Prize.

Lieselore Maes (1978) was born in Belgium and has lived in Amsterdam since 1981. As a student of geography at the universities of Utrecht and Amsterdam she was particularly fascinated by the geography of the city. She completed her internship at arcam Amsterdam Centre for Architecture, and has continued to work there on a project basis ever since. In 2010, for example, she worked on the exhibition Music, Space and Architecture. In addition, she worked for the Physical Planning Department of the City of Amsterdam. She was also involved in the first exhibition of the Van Eesteren Museum in Amsterdam NewWest. 


Annette Bos. Tabula Rasa


David Tins. Calming parc


Chris Verstappen. Urban volume


Kim Verhoeven. Space in four parts


Kim Verhoeven. Space in four parts


Jasper Smits. Pavilion at Westkapelse Kreek


Jasper Smits. Pavilion at Westkapelse Kreek


Jasper ten Bosch. Phase patterns


Jasper ten Bosch. Phase patterns


Jurgis Dagelis. Monument for human greed


Jurgis Dagelis. Monument for human greed


Narda Beunders. Mobius music walls


Narda Beunders. Mobius music walls


Nirya Zurheide. Pavilion traffic


Nirya Zurheide. Pavilion traffic


Meritxell Blanco Diaz. Shhhh...listen!


Research – Reflections – Projects  05

Music, Space and Architecture

Amsterdam Academy of Architecture Architectura & Natura


Aart Oxenaar Foreword    20 Introduction Maarten Kloos Theme    22 Machiel Spaan Research    30 Urban space Justin Bennett Sound collecting    35 Cilia Erens The audible space    43 Architectural space Rob Metkemeijer The acoustic space    51 Sjoerd Soeters A74523 in relation to M39762    61 Jacob Voorthuis Thinking boundaries in the production of architecture and music    67 Machiel Spaan Musical approaches to space    77 Experimental space Berend Jan Bockting Three compositions for the Noorderkerk    95 Lieselore Maes Music, Space and Architecture exhibition at arcam    105 Sebastian Janusz and Machiel Spaan Space to listen    117 Intrinsic space Barry Blasser and Linda-Ruth Salter Eventscapes: the aural experience of space    131 Raviv Ganchrow Shapes of time: an experiential account of sonic spatiality    141 Bart Visser Creating space    147


Foreword

Aart Oxenaar director Amsterdam Academy of Architecture ‘Attempt to express the melancholia laden with sweet nostalgia that filled the heart upon hearing the tones of worship emanating from the church.’ Rarely has belief in the power of the interaction between space and music to lend meaning to architecture been expressed so succinctly. With this famous inscription on an engraving of a church building seen beyond a graveyard, most of it obscured by a huge tree, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, with a typically romantic idea, identified the heavily charged connection between ‘music, space and architecture’ — the theme of this publication from the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture. The church acquires meaning as a place of consolation and salvation in a fallen universe and the architectural space comes to life, touches the heart, through the music. The title of the project does not, however, refer to Schinkel but to Siegfried Giedion’s Space, Time and Architecture. And that is no coincidence. With his study Giedion helped to find a way to shed the burden of meanings that were threatening to crush the architecture of his time. Not by making it meaningless but by elevating space itself and its use over time as the bearer of meaning. And with this design and research project a series of authors, after a period of iconic buildings and postmodernist excess, search for useful tools, foundations and metaphors on which meaningful architectural forms can be developed. Music turns out to be one of them. 20


foreword

Music, Space and Architecture is the result of a special collaboration with the Stichting Noorderkerkconcerten, the initiator, the Theaterschool, the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, arcam and the Academy of Architecture. Researchers, designers (both architects and scenographers), performing musicians and composers dealt, both individually and in collaboration, with the potential of music and more generally of sound as a means of reflecting on space, experiencing it and bringing it to life. It is precisely by putting space first and foremost that we hope this publication will encourage fresh research into productive relations, deployable in design, between music, space and architecture.

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Theme

Maarten Kloos Music, space and architecture: it is a concise summary of a whole universe. A trinity that brings together three notions, all of them extensive, multi-interpretable and hence difficult to define. Because each of them appeals to our associative power and therefore always encourages new and creative ideas, it is logical that a multitude and, especially, wide diversity of definitions can emerge over time, most of them closely linked to the time they were formulated. For a start, it is of course a trio of complex dualities of great complexity. The relation between architecture and space has something self-evident, which is why they have always traditionally been labelled without difficulty as the natural habitat of the architect. Music and space possess that to a lesser extent. More often, their mutual connection is considered to be an exceptional phenomenon, especially by composers of old. It is for good reason that the link between music and architecture, the most difficult to explain, has traditionally been the domain of theorists, among them both specialists in the two professions and writers, poets, philosophers and historians interested in a wide range of subjects. All this means that interpretations of the triad of music-space-architecture inevitably lead to making a choice. To which element do we give priority? What is the basic idea as, it were? In this publication that is deliberately ‘space’.

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introduction

One of the ideas behind this choice was that numerous misunderstandings could be solved by analysing the role that space can play, both independently and as an intermediary. Especially those misunderstandings that concern the easily assumed connections and parallels between music and architecture. The best example of this is the well-known assumption that architecture is frozen music. A statement apparently first made by Goethe, which totally denies that the relation between the two is a dynamic one that should be considered in terms of fluidity and variability. If we consider what the existence of different spaces means for the music-space-architecture phenomenon, then it is obvious we should consciously review a series of dimensions, from small to big, as though they concerned a literally expanding universe. Or, perhaps more interestingly, the reverse: from big to small. But to begin somewhere, let us imagine a typical concert situation. In other words, a spatial constellation in which we listen with other people to one or more musicians who produce music. A situation, therefore, in which the individual enjoys a rich array of possible interactions (with the surrounding space, with other listeners, with the performer, with the music being played). This can happen in very different ways by profiting from combinations of different interactions. That’s why there are people who can only enjoy music to the full in such a context — spatial, architectural, and invariably of great social complexity — and there are also people who are unable to do that on account of the profusion of stimuli. The notion of ‘space’ fans in all directions here. 23


introduction

If we concentrate on space and architecture, then we are essentially dealing with aesthetic qualities and acoustics. It is these elements that make it possible to bring the architecture to the music as it were (by adapting halls to customary music practice or even to highly specific interpretations of it — see the 19th- and 20th-century concert halls for symphony music, in particular venues like the Berlin Philharmonic by Hans Scharoun and Music Centre Vredenburg). One can also try to design a space in such a way that it forms a container for that single piece of music for which the designer intended it — such as The Male Womb by the design offices mat and Elastik, tailored specially for the Kindertotenlieder by Mahler. Zaha Hadid walks a middle course in the pavilion she designed for performances of chamber music by Johann Sebastian Bach. Based on meanings she read into the work of Bach, this pavilion provides an inspiring space in a space, which when erected in the Westergasfabriek (summer 2010) easily met all objectives: not only Bach´s music sounded good here. Conversely, music can be tailored to a particular location and thus be ‘brought to architecture’, so to speak. Music and architecture can be tied together in a subtle manner — this happens in the Festspielhaus by Richard Wagner in Bayreuth and must have once been evident in the Philips Pavilion by Le Corbusier, Xenakis and Varèse in Brussels — but the nature of the music can also correspond in more relaxed fashion with the character of a certain space. For example, the idea is mooted that the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig was of critical importance for the musical content of the works by Bach from the time he worked in that city. This is an interesting idea because one could cast doubts 24


introduction

on its validity, doubts arising from the fact that we are dealing with an immeasurable situation with far too many variables (is the relation the result of the spatial form, of the reverberation time, of the position of the public, of the particular ideas of the composer?). What is certain is that the measurable reality and virtual forms are bridged here. And, remarkably enough, that is also a highly manageable phenomenon, which is well expressed in the most intimate manner of experiencing music: the situation in which the music and the listening individual are in contact with each other via a closed circuit such as a headphones. Many people will take the view that space, and thus architecture, is absent in that situation. It makes more sense, however, to argue that space is very much present there, only turned inward. In other words, that an ‘interior space’ exists (you could call it virtual) which plays a role in the experience of music. Countless photographs and film sequences of musicians listening to one of their own recordings on headphones make clear, by their facial expressions, for example, that this is how one can summon up maximum concentration. Indeed, the degree of concentration often seems to be nothing other than the reflection of inner space. This space evokes rich associations, which the recent cd by cellist Quirine Viersen illustrates. In the text that accompanies her recording of the six Bach suites, she states that this music sounds best in a church space (note: Pablo Casals imagined he was in a cathedral when playing the sixth suite). For the cd, therefore, Viersen played the suites in the Wallonian Church in Amsterdam. It means that the 25


introduction

Musing about music, space and architecture, in a decor by Zaha Hadid and in the ‘company’ of Karlheinz Stockhausen (Westergasfabriek, Holland Festival, 6 June 2010).

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introduction

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introduction

space (of the church) is important insofar as it gives the cellist the idea that it is there, more than anywhere else, that she can give what to her feels like an honest rendering of the suites. Listeners of the cd — from a distance of course, in individual isolation — are the beneficiaries, for they will hear a performance the musician believes in. By then the space of the church has vanished from view, since it was simply used as a vehicle for making the recording. Space here seems to be a paradoxical concept in two respects, something of a black hole that is both there and not there at the same time, a catalyst that eliminates itself. In my opinion, this is the route that designers who study the relation between music, space and architecture should follow. Not primarily to discover certainties but, rather, to search for the most creative circumscribing movements and, thus, to sound out the limits of this trio of concepts.

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Research

Machiel Spaan Many buildings are designed to please the eye. Yet other senses influence how we experience buildings spatially. In addition to sight, smell and touch, hearing determines the experience of space to a great extent. Every building and every space has its own particular sound. Music, Space and Architecture aims to break the dominance of sight. Examining the relation between music and architecture draws attention away from the visual. Key questions in this study are: In which ways does sound (and music) influence the atmosphere of a space? How does the design of space influence the sound of this space? What effect does this have on the occupant of the space? How can sound and acoustics suggest space? And how can the knowledge and insight acquired through research be deployed in spatial design? Putting space foremost offers a new perspective on the relation between architecture and music. Space enters into a dialogue with both architecture and music and brings the two closer together. Music, Space and Architecture examines spatial experience in relation to architecture and music at different scales. Both the urban and the architectural experience of space in relation to music are explored. In addition, the experimental and intrinsically focused facets of the relation between music, space and architecture are highlighted in a number of contributions.

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introduction

Two collectors of sounds from the city listen in on urban space. Sonologist and artist Justin Bennett collects urban sounds. The material found forms the starting point for an intuitive process. Sounds are manipulated, distorted and pasted one after another. This results in new ‘compositions’ with sound spaces that have a rationale of their own. While Justin Bennett collects the sounds of the city as raw material for his ‘sound sculptures’, sound artist Cilia Erens tries to assess the sounds of the city on the basis of their spatial qualities. Erens registers, records and plays the recorded sound spaces in other places again. Isolating these sound spaces from the visual context can foster an understanding of the significance of sound in the experience of urban space. Four essays on architectural space illuminate the relation between architecture and music and how space mediates between them. Acoustic engineer Rob Metkemeijer describes how the architecture of space can shape itself to sound. A good acoustic space is given shape and materials to serve music. Architect Sjoerd Soeters explains the connection between architecture and music as a need to create a coherent entity. According to Soeters, in both disciplines harmony is a prerequisite for the experience of (spatial) beauty. In his essay, philosopher Jacob Voorthuis looks for a new model to connect music and architecture. The essence of this new model lies in human actions. The perception of the individual is the focus. People possess the tools to experience and connect music and architecture. The concepts of rhythm and movement are central concerns here. Architect Machiel Spaan describes how music and sound can inspire designers in creating 31


introduction

space. Design projects by students serve as illustrations of how space is approached from different perspectives. Music and architecture are the source of artistic work in experimental space. Journalist Berend Jan Bockting interviews three composers from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam who bring music to a particular space: the Noorderkerk. The composers describe their association with the space and how the music they composed responds to this space. Lieselore Maes describes the space evoked by the objects contained in the exhibition Music, Space and Architecture at the arcam gallery. The nine sound objects suggest spaces that are not ‘visible’ but experienced by visitors themselves according to their own powers of association. In Spaces to listen, Sebastian Janusz and Machiel Spaan use four sound experiments conducted at the Academy of Architecture to describe how the sound artist and the performer deploy space in their work. They set these experiments in a broader context of historical examples in which architecture and music sense and strengthen each other in space. In the contributions dealing with intrinsic space, the researchers question how we experience the space ‘within’ ourselves. Three essays examine the interiorized (invisible) space of the observer. Barry Blasser and Linda-Ruth Salter describe the sound space from the observer towards the space. They analyse the sensorial experience of space through the senses. The notion of eventscape is introduced to denote the integral spatial experience of a visitor in a space. The authors describe strategies that the user of the eventscape employs to use and lend meaning to this auditive 32


introduction

space. In Spaces of time, architect and sonologist Raviv Ganchrow describes this sound space from another angle. He explores the properties of the sound that influences the spatial experience. A sound space is not physically determined but fluid. By considering sound itself as a material with which you can construct acoustic space, Raviv Ganchrow introduces a new dimension for spatiality. In his contribution Creating space, artist and scenographer Bart Visser asks how you the designer can evoke an interiorized space within the listener. Drawing on his own work and that of students, he searches for the essence of creating space. How do you create the right conditions to enable the listener to enjoy a personal spatial experience? And where do architecture and music encounter each other in this quest? The sequence in which the contributions are arranged according to different spatial scenarios offers just a reading suggestion. The reader is free to move at will through the book. Just as you wander about the city or through a space and only see what you want to look at, or hear what you really want to hear. This unforced reading experience that introduces the reader to a range of approaches is supported in this book by a large number of citations taken from previous publications devoted to the theme. The publication Music, Space and Architecture therefore hopes to contribute to the ongoing debate on the relation between music and architecture. Moreover, attention focuses here on the experience of space. The publication seeks to inspire designers to deepen that quality, both in its design and its experience, through sound, rhythm, structure, sequence and more. 33


urban space / Sound collecting

34


Sound collecting Justin Bennett

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urban space / Sound collecting

Archive/jb/urban_sound/archive/… If you make and collect audio recordings of cities, what are you doing? Should you call it music, acoustic ecology, sound hunting, sociology, sound art, phonography or ‘rhythmanalysis’, that profession proposed by Henri Lefebvre which seems somehow to combine all of these things? Let’s dip into my archive and listen… Listening to sounds that I have recorded myself always brings back memories. Not only can I usually remember where and when the recording was made, but I also remember many trivial or personal details. For anybody else, many of those memories have no logical connection with the sound itself. My archive contains source recordings, worked recordings, edits, mixes and finished ‘masters’. At the same time, it’s a diary, incredibly personal, albeit in an obscure, coded way which requires my memory to unlock it. When I work

…/CAS031/cervera_walk1.aif This sound is from a cassette from 1991. Footsteps (my own) echo along a passage. Carreró de les Bruixes in Cervera, Catalonia. The Witches Street. A sleepy afternoon. There are no witches to be heard on the tape, but occasionally one hears a muffled voice from inside a house (the passage snaked along the hillside among and sometimes underneath the houses), 36

with these sounds, the memories are unleashed – sometimes I change or edit a sound in order to exorcise a haunted, unwanted recollection; sometimes the memories become a secret structuring device. What a stranger can hear in a sound recording are more or less recognizable sounds and the space in which they resound. These can give clues to the country or city, the time of day or year, the weather, etc. If the sound was recorded on a wax phonograph, wire recorder, optical film strip, cassette or mobile phone, which all sound different, you could even place the sound in a particular decade. There are as many approaches to using microphones as there are recordists: You could ask yourself where the sounds are that you wish to record? Are they to be found at the source of the sound, are they in your ears or somewhere in the space in between?

a ventilator, the sound of cooking (bringing back a memory of smells) or a television. The echoey parts of the tape were recorded in dark, cool spaces under the houses. When the passage opened out, sometimes introducing the sounds of birds or insects, the sun beating down was almost unbearable. I was walking to meet my girlfriend in a café on a square near the railway station.

…/DAT095/munster_bells_ close.aif The pealing of church bells mixes with voices speaking German, footsteps and a splashing fountain.


‘The space I have described is the space of a direct physical experience, and by going through this experience we arrive at a new inner space.’ urban space / The audible space

Jonathan Cott (ed.). Stockhausen: conversations with the composer. London 1974, p. 45.

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‘Anyone who has become entranced by the sound of dripping water in the darkness of a ruin can attest to the extraordinary capacity of the ear to carve a volume into the void of darkness. The space traced by the ear in the darkness becomes a cavity sculpted directly in the interior of the mind.’ urban space / The audible space

Juhani Pallasmaa. The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture of the Senses. Chichester 2005, p.50.

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urban space / Sound collecting

Recording with microphones in your ears1 seems to be closest to your own perception of sound. But it’s not only the sound that you will capture, but also the movements of your head and body – a breath, a sniff, a footstep. When you listen back to the recording on headphones, it’s as if you are really there, but someone else is there too – the ghost of the body of the recordist is also present on the tape. Other microphone techniques shift focus and perspective to different degrees. 2 Small microphones can go where your ears can’t – inside a bottle on a beach perhaps. Then the resonance of the vessel can be a stronger element in the recording than the surrounding noises. Attach a contact microphone to a window and it turns into a huge microphone. Are you then listening to a sheet of glass, or are you hearing the world as if you were a sheet of glass? I might go to a city to plan to record an event: a market, demonstration or ceremony.

…/DAT328/madrid_ fountain_pump.aif The sound of a fountain with voices and birds in the middle distance. The microphone is resting on a wall, accidentally picking up a mechanical vibration (the pump for the fountain?) which creates a musical drone underneath the other sounds. 39

Or a place: plaza, atrium, park, alleyway. Or a thing: a flag in the wind, boat horns in the harbour. But often I will just walk. An aural derive – following your ears – is a great way to explore a place, but sometimes I will follow someone in order to be taken somewhere unexpected. The recording becomes a trace, a line drawn through the city. I’m especially fond of recording walks which cross acoustic thresholds: moving from a busy street into an echoing passage or sleepy courtyard, or from an expensive shopping street into a poor area with kids playing street football. The recordings reveal just how much our hearing can tell us about the urban fabric. One can use technology to reveal the acoustic signature of a space.3 Space itself is then heard, distilled. But in everyday life the spaces of the city are sounded by the activities that

…/DAT379/funicular_ descent.aif Many voices, close to the listener. Behind these, heavy traffic. Footsteps on stone steps lead us away from the traffic into a resonant space. Beeping and clunking machines check the flow of the crowd. The soft hum of escalators and other machines fills the space as we descend quietly to the platforms.

…/2009/bcn01/macba_plein_ soundscheck.wav Skaters on a plaza create echoes from the buildings when their boards hit the ground. Someone is testing a PA system with a microphone.


urban space / Sound collecting

take place in them. The interaction between productive or playful activity and acoustic space creates a social sonic space. Children playing or skateboarders use sound to signal their activity, laying claim to the space. If you listen to recordings of public spaces, can you hear if they are socially successful spaces or not? Conversely, could one base a plan for a new public space on an acoustic design?

No matter how purist your approach is to making a recording, when it’s played through loudspeakers into a room the equipment and the acoustics of the space change the sound into something else. The result is never the same as the original soundfield and not even the same as the signals recorded onto the tape.

Electronic manipulation of sound is for me primarily an extension of the recording There is much debate in the world of phono­ process. It’s like zooming into the sound to hear it more clearly. Using filters, you can scan graphy on how much one is ‘allowed’ to change sound once it has been recorded. And just as with through the frequency range of a recording for photography there is a spectrum of different interesting details which can then be separated approaches ranging from the ‘sonic snapshot’ to from the ‘background noise’. Transposition the framed or even staged recording. (varispeed) ‘plays’ the sound at different speeds, moving unnoticed frequency areas into For me a recording is a trace made by a listener. the audible range. A listener engaging with the soundscape and making choices by choosing when to record, This process is a special form of listening, with which microphone, from which distance or re-interpreting the sound to intensify what it is by moving. Just being present in an environment that I find interesting. changes the way that it will sound.

…/DAT290/bcn_roof_ telinga.aif We hear noises from the surrounding streets and houses (voices, cooking, air conditioning, a siren, bells). I move the microphone between different resonant chambers – from buckets and a tin bath on the roof, through the kitchen and bathroom to an echoing airshaft in the centre of the building. 40

…/the_well/work/istik_b_res12_ LPF.wav A very resonant droning sound in which voice-like details can be detected, sometimes a phrase of music.

…/sundial/Den_ Haag_roof/ dh_ 21.08.2005.15.32.00.wav Birds chattering. Distant traffic. A dog barks, a child shouts, then another. A distant aeroplane.


urban space / Sound collecting

This reinterpretation can start to suggest compositional strategies. But every process creates more distance between the listener and the original recorded event, eventually replacing it with a new perception altogether. Editing sound is, of course, also a form of manipulation – creating musical or narrative form. In extreme cases, the minute splicing of sounds can create new ones. 4 Generally though, I like to keep sound in large chunks. Sounds for me are not objects, samples that I have hunted and captured, but excerpts of life which reveal spaces, atmospheres, movements and rhythms. Even when strongly processed the rhythms and movements are still present in the resulting sound. On its own this sound doesn’t tell anyone very much, it only makes sense in context. This is a fragment from a project called Sundial. I make acoustic portraits of different cities by making timed recordings at a single location

1 ‘Binaural’ recording uses omnidirectional microphones placed in or near the ears of the recordist. This technique gives a very realistic three-dimensional effect when heard through headphones, and it is often used when creating ‘soundwalk’ pieces. 2 For instance, cardioid microphones pick up sound from the front and not behind, ms stereo microphones allow the adjustment

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over the course of a day. Later I edit these sounds chronologically into a piece lasting just a few minutes. The acoustic signatures of the cities and their daily rhythms can thus be (subjectively) compared. At first I thought that after I had made a few of these pieces it would become boring, and that I would stop. But I realized that the repetition of this process, despite or perhaps because of the boring bits, was teaching me to listen to the city in a different way. For instance, trying to find the moment, usually between three and five in the morning, when there is something in the city that I can call ‘silence’ – a different silence for every city in the world. ‘The Rhythmanalyst… will listen to the world, and above all to what are disdainfully called noises, which are said without meaning, and to murmurs, full of meaning – and finally he will listen to silences.’5

of the stereo width, shotgun or parabolic microphones bring a sound perceptually closer, while ambisonic microphones attempt to capture the whole field of sound in three dimensions. 3 By recording a pistol shot or a sweeping sine wave in a space, one then can capture, analyse and use its acoustic signature or ‘impulse response’.

4 Techniques such as brassage or granulation automatically chop sounds into thousands of ‘grains’, which can be then stretched or re-ordered. What is the smallest piece of recorded sound one can hear, and still hear what it was? 5 Henri Lefebvre. The Rhythmanalyst: A Previsionary Portrait. In: Rhythmanalysis, Space, Time and Everyday Life. New York 2004.


urban space / The audible space

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The audible space Cilia Erens

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urban space / The audible space

Listening to see An invisible medium surrounds us 24 hours a day. Listening to it usually happens subconsciously. The way space manifests itself to your ear, how our view is coloured by how we listen: you only discover that if you study it very specifically. What would the city look like if architects and urban designers considered sound in their spatial design? When I studied town and country planning no attention was given to the audible dimension of ‘the built environment’. Consideration for sound in that profession almost always concerns acoustics or noise pollution. The fact that clients and architects automatically construct audible spaces and, as organizers of space, influence sound patterns and create new ones only became clear to me when I examined the notion of ‘audible space’ as a sound artist. For me, audible space means listening to your surroundings as a three-dimensional space that is continually changing in tone, volume, movement and layers. What does the audible space tell us? A lot. For as invisible as sound is, it also offers us insight. I started to listen more consciously to the surroundings, as though they formed a composition of adjacent and overlapping sound spaces that disclose something about the built environment and its occupants. That awareness increased when I started to make ‘sound walks’ in different cities. As I listened, I discovered what made the centre of Rotterdam, for example, sound so different to Amsterdam or Groningen. And I discovered just how varied ‘city noise’ can be — those distantly audible sounds or the prevailing blanket of sound generated by the city and its inhabitants. And I discovered just how little diversity resounds in many Vinex districts with their massive volume of new construction. As a sound artist I have increasingly focused on sound themes that relate to the city — in addition to silence and collective silence. But always, the audible space was and is my starting point in creating new experiences for others and appealing to the imagination of my public. I usually organize my presentations in the form of sound walks, for groups or individuals. 44

Another aspect of my work is sound scans of public space, which can be combined with a particular recording technique as an instrument in studying the design of space. 1 In my workshops for students at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture and elsewhere, listening on location, often with the aid of blindfolds, is the starting point in helping them to develop an initial awareness of their audible surroundings and to start analyzing and arriving at new questions. Form studies at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture The representation of a masterwork During one of the educational projects at the Academy of Architecture, we analyzed the interior spaces of buildings around Mr. Visserplein in Amsterdam, a square that borders the inner city. Centuries-old buildings, among them the academy itself, alternate with buildings dating from the 20th century, each offering a sound experience of its own. The 17th-century Portuguese Synagogue has a unique acoustic character in which outside sounds are all that indicate time. Electricity has never been installed in the building for religious reasons. These listening sessions are confrontational. As soon as students start to listen consciously, they realize just how much buildings differ from one another in what they evoke. (Fig. 1) The undisturbed silence of the Portuguese Synagogue induced a sense of concentration that was far removed from the sense of disorientation that pervaded some 20th-century buildings with their hard materials and the humming of ventilation equipment. That was experienced most strongly in the concrete playground TunFun, located beneath the square. Here, the air conditioning drones in every nook and cranny. This project resulted in a sound panorama of the square, which we could listen to with headphones, with the centuries-old silence of the synagogue as the audible highlight and the ‘representation of a masterwork’, as the underlying theme of the study was called.


‘Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise. When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listen to it, we find it fascinating.’ urban space / Sound collecting

John Cage. The Future of Music: Credo. Lecture, Seattle 1937.

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‘High and low, bright and dark, these are psychological properties of acoustical perception: impressions relating to locations whose reality is that of aural psychology rather than of physical space.’ urban space / Sound collecting

Karl H.Worner. Stockhausen Life and Work. London 1973, p.155.

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urban space / The audible space

The audible city boundary The study project entitled the ‘audible city boundary’ focused on exactly that — the audibility of the city boundary. Can you hear that in the 21st century? In contrast to other Western European capitals, Amsterdam’s boundary has some sharp, physical demarcations, abrupt transitions from the city to the world beyond. Housing and industrial estates stretching for kilometres along arterial roads are largely absent. Can we listen to this as a quality in its own right, and how do we make it audible in a presentation?

(Fig. 1) The Portuguese Synagoge, Amsterdam

(Fig. 2) ‘Sound-seeing Ypenburg: Encounters in the sound landscape of the drawing table’

Before we could listen to the city, I told the students about my experiences with audible space in a relatively new type of urban environment: the Vinex district of Ypenburg on the edge of The Hague. I had made a sound walk there in 2006 entitled ‘Sound-seeing Ypenburg: Encounters in the sound landscape of the drawing table’ (Fig. 2). What I discovered there was the audible effect of the one-sided population make-up and corresponding design. You heard a regular sound pattern, largely determined by the absence of double-income couples during the day and by the school timetable of the children. Unpredictable layers of sound, such as the rustle of trees in the wind, were lacking completely in some neighbourhoods. Trees were scarcely planted — that has since changed owing to complaints from the people of Ypenburg — or were too small to attract birds. That resulted in a ‘brick silence’ during the daytime and evening, except when the school opened its doors and the echoes of playing children reverberated off the stone walls. I came across similar patterns in parts of IJburg (Amsterdam) and Broekpolder (Beverwijk/Heemskerk), as though these new expansion districts had been rolled out as identical carpets of sound. In the discussion that followed, the students wondered how that would affect the children who grow up there. And they asked whether you can design a square or neighbourhood sound. Can you consider sound as a factor in the design process? With this knowledge in our minds, we organized various listening walks at a number of strategic points in Amsterdam. We asked

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urban space / The audible space

ourselves at what point does the city really start to sound like an inner city. What does a road leading out of the city sound like? What does a city boundary sound like? We searched for ‘earcatchers’, sound themes that linger in the ear, as elements that can be measured. Inner-city boundary First of all, we examined the boundaries of the inner city. At Mr. Visserplein, opposite the academy, two roads into the city converge with one residential and retail street, the Jodenbreestraat. Wearing blindfolds, students started to distinguish elements such as reflection, layers in sound, sound movements and densities (Fig. 3). Behind them they heard diffuse and occasional sounds at different pitches on a small surface, such as the click of iron, voices, bike tyres on asphalt, the ringing of bells, the soft hum of engines — sounds that surface independently of one another and then recede again. And all this mixed with a continuous flow of noise from the passing traffic. It turned out that the blindfolded students experienced the audible boundary of the city centre more strongly than those without blindfolds. City boundary After that, we selected as city boundary the transitional area between the end of the Rijnstraat and the start of the A2 motorway to Utrecht. We examined whether, and how, we could make the idea of a city boundary audible in a final presentation. We started by listening to the A2 (Fig. 4). There was the prevailing, indifferent hum of motorized traffic, and closer to the road we heard the low-frequency, unambiguous soundtrack produced by engines and tyres on asphalt. Definitive proof that the city and its inhabitants were nearing came in the form of the rattling warning sounds created for blind pedestrians, which mixed with the din of engines. The end of the motorway had been signalled. Ten metres further and the sound landscape had changed completely. Suddenly the sound of traffic was reflected. And at precisely that point it mixed with the music and bustling noises emanating from inside a building. A loud bell sounded briefly through a speaker and blended with a metallic soundtrack that gradually intensified. And we also heard 48

(Fig. 3) Examining the audible boundaries at the Mr. Visserplein, Amsterdam

(Fig. 4) Listening to the A2 motorway


urban space / The audible space

footsteps on slabs, tyres and horses hooves on asphalt, and the distant sound of a concertina coming from the same direction as a stationary vehicle with its heavy engine still running, from which something was being unloaded. In short, suddenly a diversity of city sounds that rose and receded again. We measured the distance between the sounds furthest from each other in the transition zone between motorway and city. Sound homogeneity was located 340 metres away from sound diversity, a manifestation of the smallscale character that we also conveyed in the final presentation.

I was familiar with the appearance of the chosen research sites, but that does not imply that I automatically heard what I saw. Relative silence is necessary to make diversity audible. Silence and diversity as two essential qualities for a human scale in an urban environment. Can we also come up with objective criteria to measure the sound patterns of urban spaces and compare them with one another? Can those audible criteria be captured by any unit of measurement? And how could you then deploy them in a design process? The search for the answer begins with listening to the audible space. Special thanks to Sabien de Kleijn, architect

From analysis to planning Subjects like homogeneity, scale and intricacy became audible to the students. They considered that an enrichment of their experience in professional practice. Articles about Jane Jacobs and a documentary on Rudy Stroink, with their approach to finely-woven structures as urban qualities, helped in the analysis of sounds. 2 Can we speak of the most compact audible city boundary in Europe? Can we recommend proposing this audible space for inclusion on the unesco World Heritage List? Another question is whether such research offers pointers for ‘composing’ a desired urban sound landscape by creating conditions for redevelopment plans. In the case of Mr. Visserplein, for example, wide pavements and cycle lanes have been made since the square was redeveloped. Motorized traffic has been reduced, and as a result countless individual human traces are audible in this sound landscape.

1 Lino Hellings in collaboration with Shahidul Alam, Marjolijn Boterenbrood, Cilia Erens, Toye Gbade and Rob van Maanen. The Route and the Destination: dna of the Vlietzone in The Hague and Flyovers in Dhaka (Bangladesh), Lagos (Nigeria) and Sao Paulo (Brazil). The Hague 2011.

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2 Lara Schrijver . Review of Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities. www.archined.nl, 2009. Kees Brouwer. De strijd van Rudy Stroink. vpro Tegenlicht, 2009.


architectural space / The acoustic space

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The acoustic space Rob Metkemeijer

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architectural space / The acoustic space

The hearing mechanism Our hearing mechanism began evolving outdoors. Acoustically, outdoors means that every sound we hear is only heard once if there are no sound-reflecting objects. Hearing with two ears makes it possible to some extent to hear the direction of the sound source by correlating the signals received in two ears. To be able to do this, the wavelength of the sounds should be about the size of the head, say 5–50 cm. Sound in air has a frequency equivalent to 700 to 7000 Hz, exactly the frequency range containing the information of natural speech and the mid-range of musical sounds. It is fundamental for the behaviour of sound as a means of communicating with the world around us that the wavelengths we hear are on this kind of a human scale. Speech will be heard clearest when there is no additional reflection or reverberation. Good acoustics for speech can therefore be simply defined as sufficiently loud and with a minimum of reverberation, echo and spectral filtering. When people found shelter and started living in caves, the hearing mechanism had to cope with the fact that every sound was not heard once, but an almost infinite number of times due to the fact that sound is reflected on the walls and

ceiling. The cave’s acoustics in other words. What does our hearing mechanism do to create an impression of space? It does something that we call (binaural) deconvolution: a correlation process that recreates the original signal from a signal that is repeated many times with just as many time delays. So if we are in a reverberant space, we still can determine the sound signal that was originally sent, and also the direction from which it came (precedence effect). ‘Hearing the space’ is like receiving extra information. We get an impression of the size of a space by analyzing the reflections’ repetitive pattern, and to a certain extent even a general idea of its shape. But sound bends, diffracts and disperses due to wavelength effects; there are no straight ‘sound lines’. So there cannot be a clear acoustic picture. Music and acoustics Hearing the acoustics of a space It is not possible to hear the acoustics of a space (which is purely a physical property) as such. A signal will always be heard, often in the form of music or speech. These are complex

(Fig. 1) Simple music signal in time

(Fig. 2) The same signal, with reflections and reverberations added

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‘Sound and space are inextricably connected, interlocked in a dynamic through which each performs the other, bringing aurality into spatiality and space into aural definition. This plays out in an acoustical occurrence whereby sound sets into relief the properties of a given space, its materiality and characteristics, through reverberation and reflection, and, in turn, these characteristics affect the given sound and how it is heard.’ architectural space / The acoustic space

Brandon La Belle. Background Noise. London 2007, p.123.

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‘In sound-architecture the shape of space itself is defined by travelling sound… : ‘so as to change’ the proportions and the message of an existing space.’ architectural space / The acoustic space

Bernhard Leitner. Sound architecture: Space created through traveling sound. In: Artforum, March 1971.

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architectural space / The acoustic space

and constantly varying signals. It is like trying to see the interior of a space in a light that changes colour and intensity very quickly and irregularly, like randomized ‘disco’ lights. Learning to see in this way takes time, and one may need many several different experiences to get a representative picture of the space. And it is highly probable that people will see the space quite differently after such an experiment. Back to sound, the reflecting boundaries of the space add many repetitions to the signal, which cause significant and audible time delays to the first , direct signal heard. The source’s signal and the acoustics are heard simultaneously, so it is not easy to separate the two. Yet our auditory system is equipped to hear the music and the space more or less separately. In theory, a continuous ‘white noise’, broadband signal (similar to a continuous white light for the visual perception of a space) would be the most suitable way of ‘hearing a space’, but our perception system is not trained for this. A very short pulse (which basically has a broadband spectrum) is suitable, however. A musician that wants to get a first impression of the acoustics of a space, claps his hands to hear the response to the pulse. Blending sound The acoustics of concert halls are extremely important for music. Music played by natural instruments needs to be blended, smoothed and amplified by the space. A violin sounds weak and thin outdoors, but it can sound warm and full in a closed space or even when only supported by a few sound-reflecting surfaces. A reason for this is that violins and most other instruments radiate sound in a highly complex way, different for all tones. The acoustic space collects the emitted sound from all directions, mixes it and diffuses it into the space to the ears of a listener. The composition of polyphonic choir (church) music in the Middle Ages was based on the fact that the sound energy reaches the ears well spread out in time, so all the voices are well mixed. 55

Diffusing all these complex sounds into the space occurs with time delays of approximately 50 milliseconds per 15 metres. Reverberation in a space can take a few seconds. The sound will have travelled a few hundred metres before becoming inaudible. This means that when the latest audible reflections reach our ears, the sound will have travelled around in a moderately sized room a number of times so the reverberant sound which determines a major part of the quality of tone contains information of the whole space and all of its boundaries. This is very different from seeing the space, where all boundaries are perceived as parallel information at the same time. Intimacy The direct sound from a source to the listener and these early reflections provides information about the distance to the source and the dimensions of the space. An important finding of one of the most important studies on concert hall acoustics in the early 1960s by Leo Beranek made clear that a significant factor for the quality of sound in a hall is its intimacy, which hinges on the time delay of the first reflections after the direct sound. Halls, even large ones, that provide such reflections will produce intimate sound. The quality and character of the first reflections are determined by the position and acoustic properties of the space’s boundary elements. The design of these elements is important, especially around a stage and in the front of a hall. This is where the real size and the perceived acoustic size of a hall can be made more or less independently of each other. A similar effect, suggesting a large space in a small room, can be attained by adding strong and well-delayed first reflections plus long reverberation by electronic means. These systems are often used by singers. Spaciousness A number of psycho-acoustic studies in the 1970s made it clear that it was crucial for the perception of ‘spaciousness’ – a property that makes people feel enveloped by sound – that early reflections be lateral, i.e. that there be


architectural space / The acoustic space

(Fig. 3) Musikverein Vienna, high, and not wide, to enhance intimacy and spatial hearing

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architectural space / The acoustic space

a dissimilarity of the reflected sound at the two ears. 1 This is perhaps the most important property of a space for music, and more recently has been termed ‘binaural quality’, as a result of works by Manfred Schroeder, Harold Marshall, Michael Barron, Yoichi Ando, Leo Beranek and others. An index for this property can be derived from measurements of the cross-correlation of the sound signals between the two ears. These findings gave a good explanation (afterwards) of the perceived quality of famous concert and opera halls. What ‘picture’ do we get from sounds? The hearing mechanism is able to create a ‘picture’ (or at least a partial picture) of a space and the position of the source of the direct sound and early reflections. Different positions of a listener in the space will give different ratios between the early and the later reflections. It is therefore definitely possible to get a good impression of a space and its boundaries without seeing it by walking around blindfolded and listening. Reflected sound with delays of more than approximately 0.1 seconds (the sound has travelled further than 35 metres compared to the direct sound) is not easy to analyse. This kind of sound may be perceived as a separate echo (which is usually disturbing). But when there are many reflections, more or less evenly distributed in time, the sound will be perceived as (late) reverberation. As been stated before, this reverberation contains information of the whole space and all of its boundaries, but the density of the reflections in time tells something of the general size and general shape of the space, affected by the diffusiveness of the reverberation. The spectral composition and duration of the reverberant sound is determined by (absorptive and diffusive) material properties of the space’s boundaries.

1 M. Barron. The subjective effects of first reflections in concert halls— The need for lateral reflections, in: Journal of Sound and Vibration (1971) April, pp. 475-494

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Reverberation, which in terms of relative energy can be very significant, will contribute strongly to a high tonal quality of musical sounds, which may not always be fully understood, but they are definitely present in all famous concert halls and many churches. Acoustic design The acoustic design of concert halls is driven by the desire to retain the information of the musical signal (the direct sound and early reflections, with a delay time of up to approximately 100 milliseconds and a detour of reflected sound less than 35 metres) and to ensure that a sufficient ‘blanket’ of late, reverberant sound gives the musical a tonal fullness. The preferred ratio between them can, however, vary significantly for polyphonic music and modern rock music, for example. It is clear that the way music developed in time was strongly affected by the acoustics of the spaces that were available for playing music. Johann Sebastian Bach composed organ music that suited the relatively dry acoustics of the Thomaskirche in Leipzig. Joseph Haydn’s classical music suited the relatively small and upholstered hall of Schloss Esterházy. Orchestras grew in size in the late 1800s during the late romantic period, when building technology made it possible to construct larger halls for larger audience sizes. As a result, the music composed in this period made use of these halls’ typical acoustic properties and stronger reverberation (see Fig. 3). The architectural design of spaces for music in our time is assisted, sometimes driven, by the science of acoustics, even though it is a highly empirical science, and the understanding of perception is still incomplete. Some modern designs clearly reflect the simple rules of a preferred time delay of early reflections, preferred reverberation and general size (see Figs. 4 and 5).

M. Barron and A.H. Marshall. Spatial impression due to early lateral reflections in concert halls: The

derivation of a physical measure, in: Journal of Sound and Vibration (1981) July, pp. 211-232


architectural space / The acoustic space

(Fig. 4) Town Hall Christchurch (New Zealand). Typical design for strong early (lateral) reflections in a large hall.

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architectural space / The acoustic space

(Fig. 5)

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Iannis Xenakis. Metastaseis, 1953


A74523 in relation to M39762 Sjoerd Soeters

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architectural space / A74523 in relation to M39762

When the invitation reached me to write a text on the relationship between architecture and music, that request was accompanied by the introduction of a mitigating circumstance. I had already given a brief talk in the Noorderkerk in Amsterdam to introduce the ambitious performance of musical works covering almost all of Western musical history, starting with Bach and leaping forward to Iannis Xenakis and John Cage. In this brief introduction, I attempted to convey to the audience at the concert how privileged and free such a programme is in comparison to what is considered decent and normal in the world of architecture. In the divided world of architecture, you have nearreligious conclaves of modern architecture on the one side, which basically focus mainly on avant-garde examples, and on the other side you have the denomination of cultural heritage conservationists, local historians, preservation societies and so on. Both sides are more or less subsidized, and have organized themselves into societies with spokespersons, writers, photographers, publishers, nonprofit association boards, subsidy review committees, and so on and so forth. Both sides are fairly intolerant, and anyone venturing into the demilitarized zone between the two entrenched viewpoints must realize the not inconsequential danger they face. Music is not like that; such scope, such disinterested interest, such concentration and rapture. The relationship between architecture and music has already been the subject of a great deal of writing and imagination. In my immediate vicinity, there are also people who occasionally, in referring to their personal history, illuminate their multi-talented nature by noting that they had, at some point in time, to choose between architecture and music. I always wonder at such moments, while sampling their comments and wondering what they have done up until then, whether they would actually have made it much farther than that if they had pursued music instead. Perhaps these diverse individuals are those in whose minds both disciplines have been brought to fruition in such balance that they are able to write an in-depth essay on the topic. 62

I am not so widely gifted. I generally try to explain to clients and students that urban planning and architecture are not scientific fields of practice, that there are countless interpretations and just as many implicit objectives. I state on these occasions that it certainly is not rocket science and that the most important goal should be to keep it simple enough for ordinary mortals such as you and me and the average working-class stiff to understand and appreciate. In music, it is largely the same, with the difference that – no matter how exceptionally serious some music may be – music appears to have been made exclusively for experience, emotion, inspiration and pleasure. With the exception of the ceremonial aspect, the task of contributing colour and charm to events, conferences, parades and marches in which the music sets the mood of the audience, music seems able to imagine itself free of the burdens and limitations of functionality. Since architecture and music exist in an equally enormous variation and wealth of types and appearances, shifting these reflective counterparts closer to each other may lead to an infinite series of inspirations, resulting in metaphorical flights of fancy in which A20785 is associated with M69735. I hope there is a mathematician following this, one who can calculate the absolute number of combinations for us. If a subsidy is available to work out all those pairs, it would be possible to puzzle together a thick but comprehensive standard reference, which I will recommend to my students. Sales are sure to be high! Embedded in the context of my own occupation with urban design projects, I have abandoned the analysis of A18654 and M37659 — on the extent to which sound still resonates and reflects in the architectural space and the space between the notes in both architecture and music — and left that topic to its own devices. Similarly, I have not taken up the proffered gauntlet of A64923 in combination with M49786, which compares the use of the term ‘colour’ in music and in architecture. However, since we were about to listen to Bach, Iannis Xenakis and John Cage, it seemed to me that


‘Power is a non-stop tape, and my ears are wounds. It’s so flat here. Muzak for morgues and new buildings. Pleasantly humming. Leaving no traces.’ architectural space / A74523 in relation to M39762

Blixa Bargeld. Collapsing new buildings. Lyrics, Berlin 1997.

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‘What is patent in music must also be so in architecture. Thus, with proportion as a projection of the harmony of the universe, its basis – both scientific and religious – was quite unassailable.’ architectural space / A74523 in relation to M39762

Colin Rowe. The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa and Other Essays. Cambridge, MA 1987, p. 8.

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architectural space / A74523 in relation to M39762

it would be appropriate to discuss series of consecutive notes compared to the individual note, trumpet blare, strike of the drum – you understand what I mean: A74523 in relation to M39762. As a complete layman, I experience most classical music as a series of sounds that are coherently connected, not only within a measure of music, but also in the composition in which themes are introduced, elaborated on by various instrumental arrangements and developed up to a climax or left endlessly chasing its own fugue-ridden tail. In traditional cities, this metaphor insistently comes to mind when I walk past a series of buildings that enclose public spaces, in which the buildings all look a bit alike but are also a bit different — yet sufficiently similar to be in harmony. In terms of atmosphere and mood, the series of public spaces are the adagios, allegros and andantes, with the exceptional structures taking on the solos in the composition. All these aspects, in urban architecture as in music, can be enjoyed as a harmonious whole, both as a total composition and in every last detail. With or without counterpoint, it is called harmony, cohesion. Xenakis composes in a sort of cloud of sounds that are so closely positioned in space, or in time, that they can no longer be separated or distinguished. These sound clouds could be compared to pointillist painting (P28749); translated into urban architecture, I would ideally compare them to villages that have grown organically, or phenomena like the favelas, where countless houses stand huddled against the hills, seemingly without structure, hierarchy, beginning or end, at least when viewed from a distance. The individual grains are small, but many grains together create a painting or a piece of music that does not lend itself to precise definition; it is a collection, a cloud. I would like to place Cage at the opposite end of the spectrum from the composers of coherence, just as I would place modern urban architecture opposite the classical city. In Cage’s music, sounds are so far apart in type and in time that listening to a piece can sometimes be a matter 65

of waiting for the next toot, the next piano note or strike of the drum. Sounds here are not structured in series; instead, they are at most placed in series of contrast at random intervals. In the modern city, buildings do not stand shoulder to shoulder with their face or mask directed towards the public space; rather, they stand isolated in free-floating space. They can be appreciated primarily as they stand on their own, distinct. Their forms of expression are iconic, autonomous, completely individual. Cohesion is not the aim here. As in Cage’s music, one might almost suspect that the composition here could only have been created by a toss of the dice. Performing a piece by Cage is an exciting experience because all conventions are set aside; enjoying it requires considerable concentration. The cd that I have of his music is at my disposal; I could play it any time I like, but I have not chosen to listen to it twice. In areas where modern urban architecture is practised, excursions arranged by architects and city planners demand the same devoted concentration. For people who live or work there all their lives, it is generally not their first choice. The question that can be asked in both architecture and music is this: how much distance can there be between buildings and notes, in space and in time, before cohesion and coherence have receded so far into the background that they can no longer be perceived? And then: could it not be said that cohesion is a condition of ‘perceived beauty’, or in any case a deep and abiding desire of mankind?


Ton Rooijmans. Graphical analysis of the composition of the Basilica Palladiana, Vicenza. Graphical analysis of ‘listening’ to architecture: horizontally, the rhythms are visible from left to right. Vertically, the ‘chords’ are visible, different elements that are accordant with one another on different levels. The further along the time line, the more detailed the rhythms and the mutual relations.

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Thinking boundaries in the production of architecture and music Jacob Voorthuis

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architectural space / Thinking about boundaries in the production of architecture and music

Where does the boundary between music and architecture lie? Put in that way, the question makes us assume the existence of a boundary. That might seem self-evident – a boundary between two concepts is after all commonly demarcated by a definition: definio in Latin means to bound, set bounds to, limit, terminate, define. Boundaries are drawn to mark out property for the purposes of management and husbandry. Does it make sense to see architecture and music as owners of their own territory? Would such an approach not inevitably lead to border conflicts? Ludwig Wittgenstein advised us not to look at the formal definition of a word but rather to consider its actual use in our language. 1 This essay is an attempt to answer that call. The position it takes is that the words architecture and music refer to specific relationships between the human body and its environment, and manage these relationships in the economy of our understanding. They do this by providing the discussion about certain processes and their products with a network of significance, a framework of concepts articulated against a conceptual field that constitutes our beinghuman. 2 Every instance of use has its origin in the same source: the person making use of something. But how are we to represent that framework of concepts? This essay explores the issue at the hand of the concepts tectonics, movement and rhythm. Nowadays we tend to think about meaning using different metaphors from those common during the Roman Empire: no longer as a partitioned landscape divided into lots and requiring border guards motivated by imperial ambitions, but as an intimately braided virtual network of coordinates plotting a complex

surface of concepts with which people try to simulate reality so as to be able to use their body well in their environment.3 This model does not pretend to have reached any ultimate truth – it is a simulation of reality that appears to work. The pattern formed by the connections in this virtual network shows a certain cohesion from the point of view of a person who is directing his gaze outwards towards the world in which he lives: the perspective, for example, of my current view of architecture as a discipline, or the perspective of your earlier view of music, in which the various things crowding in on that view are related to one another and measured against one another in the play of a discussion. Seen on the basis of such a model, there does not need to be any boundary drawn between architecture and music: they constitute colourful strands within the braided continuity of human experience. Nevertheless they can, just like a territory, be mapped. But how? Architecture and music are produced in stages by the ordering of our environment in a design (the virtual space of the drawing or a composition), the performance (the real or actualized space of the design made into a building or the actual performance of a piece of music) and the experience of these, whereby the virtual and the real are attuned to each other in the representation of them. 4 The point of view of the I leads the way in this process, by drawing things together. In discussions with others, I disciplines the words used in order to bring out my meaning. Music, before it is anything else, is a word able to shape a discussion by relating a special set of relationships between body and environment and thereby determining them in their significance. The sentence this is architecture or this is music form judgements with reference

1

Wittgenstein, Ludwig (1976) Filosofische onderzoekingen (Philosophical Investigations), transl. Hans W. Bakx, Boom. Originally published in 1953. 2 For holism in meaning, see Quine, W.V.O. (1951), ‘Two Dogmas of Empiricism’. The Philosophical Review 60: 20-43. Reprinted in his 1953 From a Logical Point of View. Harvard University Press, and the later book Word and Object, published in 1960.

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3 This is a pragmaticist standpoint, first elaborated by the American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce. For an accessible explanation of this point of view, see, among others, Dewey, John (2005) Art and Experience. Penguin (first published in 1934). See also Shusterman, Richard, (2000) Pragmatist Aesthetics, Living Beauty, Rethinking Art (first edition published in 1992).

4 For the difference between real and virtual space, see Summers, David (2003) Real Spaces, World Art History and the Rise of Western modernism. Phaidon.


architectural space / Thinking about boundaries in the production of architecture and music

to a special spatial experience. In the use of such a sentence we order the tableau of the environment we are undergoing through our senses and measure it against our experience, making it cohere into an experience of, in this case, an instance of architecture or music. The sentence, THIS is music! involves a selection and ordering of our environment in experience; it is the judgement of a person in a special environment where something special is taking place, which is clearly the focus of his attention and which therefore guides the selection and stitching together of the elements of the tableau presented to his senses. However, just because the word music denotes and judges a special experience as being a musical one, does not of course mean that architecture is not simultaneously present as something that is also being undergone. In fact, the two are able to complement each other well and invariably do so; the spatial experience of beautiful music contributes to the experience of a sublime architecture and vice versa. They both denote and thereby manage their own processes of production and exploration, and do this with the single voice of our humanity, using whatever seems useful or is known to work effectively. Both develop within our human capacity for exploration and the practise of our bodies in using our environment. Man is confined by the possibilities and limitations of his body in organizing his experiences and placing them within the production process of being, such that, for example, I can say: I am someone who likes most of Beethoven and all of Bach and for this to mean something.5 The senses are collectively instrumental in the production of space. Architecture and music are thus conceptual aspects of an I that help us direct the special relationships between body and environment. They are different in that they are responsible for managing different processes. How do we then distinguish between the two? The distinction between the two disciplines is made using this alternative model in at least three ways:

5 Johnson, Mark (2007) The Meaning of the Body: Aesthetics of Human Understanding. University of Chicago Press.

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1. Through the pattern that emerges when each discipline orders the network of concepts within the field of human usage and the hierarchies each institutes, thereby portraying themselves from the point of view of the user. 2. T he instrumental concepts they each make use of make them appealing from their own user perspective. 3. T hrough the way the disciplines come together, assembling around a particular event and then, so to speak, do their own thing, as for example with the theme death or marriage, themes that have a musical as well as an architectural dimension in the continuity of space. I’d like to elaborate on the first two, leaving the last to your own imagination. First distinction: the portraying of a discipline The philosopher Roman Ingarden asked himself the question: where is music situated?6 Can we localize music? That turns out to be rather difficult; it is much easier, on reflection, to show where it is not. With regard to the place of music in the environment, it is clear that music cannot be situated on the page where it appears encoded in the form of musical notation which, with the right interpretation and the help of a musical instrument as well as a practiced musician, might lead to music. In this way we can point out the various stages of a musical experience where the music manifests itself in the form of something it cannot be said to be: a vibration, an echo, a memory of a movement, an analogy or a coded aid to memory within the environment to be called up. Nowhere here is it localized as a momentary feeling or the celebration of movement in being moved. And if the production of music requires a pattern of air vibrations to penetrate the body through its ears, its stretched skin and its muscles, what then? Can we localize music

6 Ingarden, Roman (1989), Ontology of the Work of Art, transl. Raymond Meyer & John T. Goldthwait. Ohio State University Press. First versions of this work were written in the 1930s.


architectural space / Thinking about boundaries in the production of architecture and music

in the body? Not, in any case, as vibrations in the air – those are and remain mere vibrations. Even with a pattern, they do not yet constitute music. Those patterns must be translated by the ear and the brain into sound, a purely psychosomatic phenomenon, and this is then distilled into music through skilful and wellpractised feeling, a knowing enjoyment or even a resolute distaste. Neurological studies increasingly show that the construction of music lies in the coordinated effort of the different parts of the brain. The cerebellum, the amygdala, the prefrontal cortex and various other parts work together, one measuring rhythm and beat, another producing a primal emotional judgement that is later reassessed and nuanced in the cerebral cortex in the light of an individual’s experience.7 The enjoyment of music takes shape in conducted feeling and motor movement, a dextrous and elegant movement that carries a proprioceptive component that in turn transfers meaning back into the environment. As such, music itself is not the feeling or the movement that music inspires. Music cannot be localized in the body; as it concerns a concerted play of the body in its environment, it concerns a reciprocal game in which the I coordinates and determines the relationship between the two. Music might be better conceived as a word with which a set of correlative relations between the body and its environment is denoted and given character and cohesion. Music is an aspect of the I that can make statements such as I think this is music. In this statement, the word never transcends its status as an abstraction, a virtual pattern articulated upon a field of concepts; the feeling, the enjoyment, the movement, the sound, the memory, the experience have to be brought together and conducted in the production of music as if they together constituted a symphony orchestra of connected elements playing together. And if the experience of undergoing music is practised well and succeeds, then we arrive at the judgement: Ah! What beautiful music. The fact that many people

7 Levitin, Daniel J. (2006), This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession. Dutton.

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use this judgment to refer to very different experiences in fact reinforces the view proposed here.Music isn’t a thing, it is a judgment upon an event in the environment in which the body finds itself. Is that any different for architecture? No it isn’t. Architecture also refers to a word with which the process, that is the design process, the process of making and the process of spatial experience together lead to the product that is architecture, such as a well or badly judged design, a somatic memory of a space, perhaps expressed by appreciation, perhaps even articulated as a refined critical judgement, but usually cherished in silence in the form of a happy familiarity or intimacy, a well-practised space, a space I know and can do.8 The body’s answer to music is a feeling; it is laughter, tears, deep joy and the smouldering simulation of wintery melancholy; it is dance, expression, movement, the rocking and the gestures of the body. The body’s answer to architecture is the movement through, alongside, over, under, in and out, a place-related and place-determining act, the orientation of the body to light, sound and sight. Music manifests itself as a somatic answer to sound, and that is no different for architecture. Architecture manifests itself in the bodily answer to a spatial package of boundaries that architecture coordinates or manages in perception and discussion. Music as a term manages the bodily production of musical rhythm in movement and emotion while architecture concerns the bodily production of social space (let us not forget here that space in the work of Immanuel Kant refers first and foremost to the organizing and portraying capacity of the human mind, a space that, without this filtering and therefore determining aspect of our perceptive capabilities, we would never be able to know).9 The body learns to recognize rhythm, timbre, meter, harmony and melody so as to bring them into coordinated play, and it practises them

8 Hillier, Bill (1999), Space is the Machine: A Configurational Theory of Architecture. Cambridge University Press.

9 Lefebvre, Henri (1991), The Production of Space, transl. Donald Nicholas-Smith. Blackwell.


‘I've always thought that it would be very difficult to do in architecture what some contemporary composers have suggested in music, to have rotating players, to have players interpret, and yet I think what architecture can do is involve the audience in it.’ architectural space / Thinking about boundaries in the production of architecture and music

Daniel Libeskind. Interview on bbc Radio. 4 August 2002.

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‘As something becomes a form it occupies a certain space; it has form, a condensation, so as not to be shattered all over in particles – something personal and individual. Automatically, time occurs in a being, but the being isn’t in time.’ architectural space / Thinking about boundaries in the production of architecture and music

Jonathan Cott. Stockhausen: conversations with the composer. 
London 1973, p 165.

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architectural space / Thinking about boundaries in the production of architecture and music

to an apex of refinement, thus producing the experience of music. 10 The body thus explores its possibilities. In this way, the construction of music may be said to be a compositional and explorative capacity situated in the responsive movements and judgements of the body that answers sound as music. Second distinction: the use of concepts, phonotectonics, movement, rhythm The musical instrument is responsible for the sound and especially for the timbre and behaviour of the sound it produces when played. Architecture is also an instrument: the sound produced by a violin is always further shaped by the material and space of the environment it is played in. Phonotectonics is concerned with the way that materials come into relationship with one another so that they help determine the sound we hear. 11 The sound produced by our bodies allows us to initiate the production of meaning with phrases such as: Who is this bathroom tenor I keep hearing? Sound is the product of our body in the translation of air vibrations that are formed when materials come together. When two materials are conjoined in a construction or its cladding they make meaning possible. This aspect of architecture is called tectonics, from the Greek word tekton, carpenter. Tectonics constitutes a sub-discipline within architectural design that concerns itself specifically with the making, that is, the choice and articulation of materials when related to questions about the environment, the situation and the desired programme of a projected design: in short it concerns the selection, placement and configuration of materials to create a good space. 12 Through tectonics, music and architecture meet in the concept of space. Paul Valéry remarked that a person experiencing music is necessarily immersed in both. A good example of this is the work Forty Part Motet (2001) by the Canadian artist Janet Cardiff. She took each voice from Thomas

10 Wittgenstein, Ludwig, Culture and Value, edited by G.H. von Wright, transl. by Peter Wynch. 1980, pp. 51 and 70.

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Tallis’ Spem in Alium nunquam habui, and recorded it individually so that each voice could be given its own speaker within a space. Visitors to the installation could walk through the space and experience the music either as a whole or they could privilege an individual singer, depending on where they stood in the room and how they moved through it. Architecture and music are immersive, spatial arts. Music is not the product of one resonance box, the instrument, but a Russian nesting doll of sound boxes, of which the ear and the stretched skin of the body are only the last before the vibrations of air and membrane are translated into electrical impulses and transformed into experience. This nested series of sound boxes is subject to architectonics and to phonotectonics. A special example of architecture and music as tectonics in tune with one another is the Vithala Temple in Hampi. It is a musical temple in the most literal sense of the word. The story (of which there are a number) is that the temple was built in honour of a dancer whose movements were so spell-binding that the local lord decided to build a space as a musical instrument to accompany her dance. The pillars of the peristylium are designed as stone chimes. This story produces both the architecture and the music. This confluence of music, dance and architecture reveals, by way of movement, what may be the most beautiful relationship between music and architecture, namely that they are not just immersive spatial arts but that they are special because of the way they each answer movement in their own way. Dance is the somatic and spatial answer to music; it is the production of space in movement, the answer to sound, rhythm, metre, harmony and melody. The body lets itself move and be moved by music and thus makes music spatial not only by making it visible, but also tangible, in the rocking, stretching, bending, proprioceptive body and giving order to the place where the dance occurs. Experience is the answer of motion to emotion. Architecture is evident here in a number of

11 This word comes from Schott, Gaspar (1677), Magia universalis naturæ et artis.

12 Voorthuis, J.C.T. (2007) ‘Tektoniek, een essay over het maken van een relatie’ (Tectonics, an essay about the making of a relationship). De Architect, Volume 38, December, 2007, pp. 116-19.


architectural space / Thinking about boundaries in the production of architecture and music

ways. Architecture is, as we have seen, itself an instrument of sound. A Stradivarius is the instrument that gives a form to the vibration of strings. The architecture in which the Stradivarius is played does no different and compounds the result. It determines the manner in which these vibrations work in space, and thus determines the way the body picks them up. 13 But that is only the beginning. Architecture as a built structure is a composed package of borders such as walls, openings, divisions and filters through which the body moves according to the rhythm of its own workings. The composition of surfaces and frames through which the body moves knows two aspects, namely the composition of those areas and frames, designed by the architect, and the perception of that composition in the moving body that thereafter reconstructs the composition of the architect into its own experiential architectural composition. To arrive at the production of space, that is to say, the production of architecture, a moving body must answer the building’s call through his experience of it. The motion of the body through the space of the building causes the static structure to move in our experience of it through the dynamics of sound, the spatial location of those sounds, the succession and meeting of colours and textures, light and shade and objects. The organization and continual composition of views and mutually shifting frames make the walk through the architecture, the route architecturale, a musical experience in that the experience becomes a composition. Architecture is an experience in which the body moves and is therefore moved. Music is the bodily emotion that moves the body. We can make this argument more specific. Music has rhythmic qualities. So does architecture. Rhythm is immediately perceivable in music; it is perhaps its most elementary aspect, or in any case its most convincing call to movement. How does architecture use rhythm? In two ways. When architects design a façade, they can do so by considering the building linearly. The

13 See Louis Kahn’s 1960 poem, ‘Order is’.

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façade of Palladio’s Basilica thus becomes a rhythmic composition when one reads its sequence of columns, entablatures, openings and projections from left to right or the other way around. We can teach ourselves that kind of reading; it takes practice and refinement. However, architecture’s rhythmic aspect goes much further than that. After all, a person has to move through space; the movement creates a second more profound rhythmic experience: the rhythmic stride past shifting surfaces, the rhythm of openings, and the sequence of volumes, etc. But it is yet more complex. I compose my experience by turning my gaze during my motion through the building. That creates architecture as a temporal experience of superimposed fragmented images braided into continuity. However, even that is only half of the story. The experience becomes richer when my eyes and ears, taste and smell work together, and when the experience can be practised a second or third time, each measured against the earlier, thus making it grow in wealth and refinement. Every building is a unique sensual composition that is determined situationally by a concrete person: composed by them into an experiential event in the form of a portrait. Conclusion: the new map In their use, the words architecture and music coordinate discussions about the production of space. That production consists of the design, the performance, the perception and, above all, their reciprocal dependence. Thus they coordinate or manage not so much a territory as a process of production, each making use of the entire human capacity to take in our environment and compose it according to the focus of our attention, whether that be the experience of architectonic space and/or that of musical space. Both words form an aspect of human enterprise as a whole, the exploratory capacity of people to put their own bodies and environment to use for the purposes of growth, self-maintenance, reflection, exercise or practise and development.


architectural space / Thinking about boundaries in the production of architecture and music

If we want to map architecture and music, we end up with a diagrammatic scheme in which the experience of a person takes up a central position, allowing itself to be differentiated only in order to answer that experience in some action, thought and/or movement. In the most literal sense we arrive at a pragmatism, ʹ γμα, or act. The from the Greek work πρ α words architecture and music form a finelywoven, delicate and changeable network of virtual relationships in which concept and interpretation become possible in discourse such that they offer direction to the act of design, composition, performance and experience. The model offered here as an alternative does not prohibit us to see music and architecture in the old way. That would reinstall the famous paragone, a conversation game based on a playful rivalry between disciplines demanding skilful and opportunistic border controls and military prowess that, however, inevitably partitions the continuity of human experience in order to control and rule. From the point of view offered here, that becomes unnecessary. The difference is now constituted in the way that, for example, different kinds of tools and their particular uses develop to work together at something that is the product in which they all play a part. Tools, material, knowledge and expertise assemble around a challenge – the making of a cupboard, for example – and are then all used by a person according to their specific abilities or suggested possibilities, each requiring their own movements and each judged according to their own criteria of finish and excellence, but all working towards a single product: the cupboard. Words and their use are, according to this analogy, the tools and at the same time the material as well as the skill to employ them in relation to the challenge to be captured in words: an experience. They come together around a discussion or a description and take their proper place; in this way they form a complete and carefully braided event with meaning, an experience of meaning carefully positioned in the light of the experience of being human and making a wellreasoned attitude possible.

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The pattern that the abstraction architecture creates in servicing the coherence it attempts to maintain and develop between various concepts that call it to use, shares coordinates with the field of concepts that is called up by the abstraction music, though not all of them; most importantly, they both look at the concepts from their own desired purpose and their own experience. That difference creates the possibility that they each make use of the same concepts in their own way. Both disciplines, for example, use the verb to compose, but they each compose using a different set of conceptual instruments, their own repertoire of means and materials in the service of their own desired goals and on the basis of the specialized competency of the user. There is, however, something strange about the singularity of these concepts, means and goals: they do not belong to the discipline, there is no ownership here that would grant exclusive privilege to a particular use. It points rather to a singularity in the use of shared means. To illustrate with a simple example, it is not the sound or a material that belongs either to architecture or music, it is the use that is made of it in experience that determines the distinction. Using the word architecture, we search for the space of architecture and bring it up for discussion, and with the word music, we, in fact, do much the same but then in search for the space of music.


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Musical approaches to space Machiel Spaan

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architectural space / Musical approaches to space

You can understand space by interacting with the environment with your whole body. Feel the city, the building and the space with all of your senses, just like the craftsmen who use their entire body to build, nail and paint it. Let all of your perceptions work together towards this: measure the space with your strides; smell the trees, the streets, the rain; feel the handrail, the doorknob and the wall; sense your weight on a hill or a staircase. In the introduction to his book The Eyes of the Skin, Finnish architect Juhani Pallasmaa asks the following: ‘Architecture has the capacity of being inspiring, engaging and life-enhancing. But why is it that architectural schemes which look good on the drawing board or the computer screen can be so disappointing in the flesh?’ This question is the beginning of a call to break through the domination of visual experience and the designer’s focus on formal solutions. Pallasmaa urges architects to use all of their senses when making a design. The interaction between the design and smell, feel, taste, sight and sound creates a deeper and more authentic experience of space.

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The Music, Space and Architecture research project at the Academy of Architecture aims to guide students to discover space anew. Various design projects on a number of scales research the way sound, alongside familiar parameters such as usage and technology, can influence a design task, process and the resulting spatial design. Using an analysis of sound as the starting point for a design assignment confronts students with a more layered spatial experience. The goal is to bring students to an awareness of the meaning of sound in the spatial experience of the city, the street, a place and space. From this new awareness, spatial designs incorporate parameters beyond the visual. This generates different descriptions, definitions and notations of space and spatial experience. It offers experiences that are not always obvious. The assignments force students to adopt an investigative attitude and lead to more comprehensive spatial insight and awareness. It is a journey towards the musical approach of space.


architectural space / Musical approaches to space

The proportions of a space One often-cited similarity between musical composition and spatial design is the application of the rules of proportions. Harmonic relationships and orders play an important role in both disciplines. Pythagoras and later Plato already developed the idea that the beauty of both music and architecture comes from their use of correct proportions. In the 1951 lecture by Dom Hans van der Laan, entitled Muziek en Architectuur (Music and Architecture), he suggests that a thorough knowledge of music offers great advantages to the architect. Van der Laan seeks the ultimate dimensional system. 1 In the lecture, he compares a number of pitch systems and describes how they deal with the perpetual area of tension between structure (harmony) and the atmosphere (melody) of a piece of music. Van der Laan compares this area of tension to a theme from architecture: the construction (tectonics) of a building, the relationship between structure (construction) and its appearance (image). ‘ The widening and narrowing of end- or mid-spans, the addition of friezes and cornices, the installation of capitals and podiums are all procedures that create differences through the addition of elements, that bring the building and its parts to light.’ Dom Hans van der Laan invites a design attitude where the tensions between construction and image be accepted and used in the expression of the building. Van der Laan’s inspiration for his own system of dimensions is derived from pitch systems and harmonic approaches in music. He goes further in translating them into architecture than simply using the rules of proportions. His principles represent an attitude towards building itself, one that suggests that the appearance of a building springs from the structure, the construction and the detail.

1 Van der Laan, Dom H. Muziek en Architectuur, lecture on September 15-16, 1951 in ‘s-Hertogenbosch.

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For the 1958 World Expo pavilion in Paris, Iannis Xenakis used a mathematical formula that he had deployed earlier in composing the piece Metastasis. He projected this formula both on time and space; not only in music, but also in architecture. ‘ The mathematical proportions are translated into music and architecture. Not in a scientific way, but in an intuitive way. Xenakis used the mathematics as a generator of creativity,’ as architecture historian Sven Sterken describes it. 2 Xenakis also worked on the façades of the La Tourette monastery, in which he explored rhythmic patterns. Here his inspiration was the numerical proportions he had used in the orchestral work Le Sacrifice. In a first design he tried to give the façade a rhythm using a direct translation of the rhythm of the musical piece. But this concept led to a boring and predictable division of windows. Fed by his intuition, he translated the rhythm on a more abstract level. He replaced rhythm with density. In the façade, this led to window mullions that are at times closer and other times further from one another. From that moment, the design question was no longer about the individual distance of each mullion from the next, but much more about zones of greater or lesser density. This allowed Xenakis to give himself the poetic freedom to play with the rhythm.

2 Sterken, S. The thoughts of Xenakis and the relation between his music and architecture, lecture May 27, 2010 at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture Amsterdam.


architectural space / Musical approaches to space

The design assignment Ruimte (Space) by architect Claudia Schmidt and architect/ musician Jurgen Stoye starts for every student with the analysis of a piece of music, such as Phase Patterns by Steve Reich or the violin concerto Tabula Rasa by Arvo P채rt. Series of rhythmic and tectonic models represent flowing and short rhythms, staccatos and harmonies. Each student distils the building blocks from each musical piece in an intuitive way. These musical building blocks are then translated into architectonic ones and then combined into greater parts so as finally to create an architectonic space. The repetition of building blocks creates the basis for the resulting pavilions. The designs go beyond the formal picture. The form comes to life through the combination of its discovered parts. This creates fascinating spaces where repetition, rhythm, layering, light, shadow and texture play an important role. The parts (building blocks) and the whole (the space) complement one another. The musical composition is transformed into a tectonic structure.

Jasper ten Bosch

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architectural space / Musical approaches to space

The movement in a space An etymological dictionary describes space as ‘a place in which to move’. Movement stimulates spatial experience. Without movement, the picture easily remains twodimensional. Movement happens in time, and it is time that connects architecture and music. Both movement through space and listening to music happen in time. In his essay Muziek en Architectuur (Music and Architecture), Jan Hoogstad describes spatial experience thus: ‘The observer notices image shifts through movement and it is specifically those shifts that are responsible for the sensation of space. In the spatial experience, observers combine the image they just saw with the one they see now. They combine an image memory with the perceived image, resulting in a spatial effect. In music, there are similar effects and one composes them on purpose.’3 The inspiration for his research into sound and space was the realization that a conversation about spatial experience always ends in a discussion of the appearance of space-determining elements, when in fact it should centre on the space between them. To break this discussion open, Hoogstad asks himself the question of how to discuss space when the visual aspect is taken out of the equation.

3 Jan Hoogstad, ‘Muziek en architectuur, een theoretische beschouwing over de relatie tussen geluid en ruimte’ (Music and Architecture, a theoretical vision of the relationship between sound and space), in Wiederhall 1988, no. 10, pp.30-33.

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architectural space / Musical approaches to space

Jan Richard Kikkert and Lars van Es’s design assignments start at a location in Amsterdam. Students study specific urban spaces of transition based on their quality of sound. They listen to the place, and the sound experiences are ‘taken up’ in the design. In a number of cases, this even leads to experiments where the visual is completely eliminated. Jan Richard Kikkert’s assignment Soundscape explores how sounds collected in a space can be transformed with the help of models and drawings. The discoveries are used for the design of an Acoustic Research Centre as an extension of the Arcam Architecture Centre. In one of the plans, new public routes are conceived that encircle the building from within and without, creating an endless movement. Perforations in the walls that generate an everpresent wind sound ensure that the routes are also audible. Fixed and undetermined places for the visitor to wander create this new urban landscape and they encourage an improvisatory use and discovery of urban space.

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Narda Beunders


architectural space / Musical approaches to space

Lars van Es’s Sonic Transitions assignment aims to create ‘urban dwellings’ from the sound discoveries. These are spatial sequences in which environmental sound has a great influence on the experience of space and use of materials in these spaces. The results are sound fragments, spatial models and scenarios that together create the whole of every design. Spatial routes that cross one another through parts of the structure make up the design. Every part of the structure highlights a different auditory quality of the environment as a part of the specific spatial experience. There are spaces that capture sound and spaces that hold it captive. These spaces create an exciting ambiguity in the transition from outside to inside.

Chris Verstappen

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architectural space / Musical approaches to space

Aldo van Eyck is always searching for indeterminate space in his work. As, for example, in his design for the Orphanage, where he took the lead from Bach’s fugues. The overlaps in the square plans, shifting relative to one another, are the in-between spaces that the programme rubs up against and where people come together. It is ambiguous space that is not directly defined, space that does not have its own walls. In Aldo van Eyck’s playground design for Amsterdam, this ambiguity also plays a role. Van Eyck consciously makes no division between the playground and the street, between sandbox and grass. He wants to teach children how they should deal with these ambiguous transitions in urban space. It awakens curiosity, challenges and allows children to experience the space and boundaries. Other users, teenagers and grownups, are likewise encouraged to use the space. This increases the interaction between the neighbourhood inhabitants.

4 Richard Sennett. The Craftsman. Amsterdam 2008, pp. 260-264, 302.

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The space is delimited by other means: the yells of children, the feel of the soil, benches for the elderly. Richard Sennett describes the multipurpose spatial character, or Van Eyck's playgrounds, in detail in his book The Craftsman and concludes that ‘it is the choreography of movement and the contact and awareness ceremonies that make Van Eyck’s playgrounds so special.’4 It allows children to learn in play and they are encouraged to do so together. These ceremonies take place in the ambiguous space that is not determined by physical boundaries. The design of them requires more than merely a visual approach. Feeling, but certainly also hearing, provide an interesting input. This kind of spatial design does more than facilitate use. It creates areas with space for meeting, improvisatory use and unexpected movement.


‘Wir verstehen im Allgemeinen Architektur nicht mehr, wenigstens lange nicht in der Weise, wie wir Musik verstehen.’ ... ‘Und noch jetzt möchte man fragen: wen unsere neuere Musik die Steine bewegen könnte, würde sie diese zur einer antiken Architektur zusammensetzen?’ architectural space / Musical approaches to space

Friedrich Nietzsche. Menschliches, Allzumenschliches – Ein Buch für freie Geister. Leipzig 1878 -1880, p. 112.

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‘Space is in our experience equal to place, and the time is equal to the moment.’ architectural space / Musical approaches to space

Aldo van Eyck. The playgrounds and the city. Rotterdam 2002, p 15.

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architectural space / Musical approaches to space

Space for encounter plays a key role in the graduation project entitled Space in Four Parts by Kim Verhoeven at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture in July 2011. She observed that contemporary concert halls are increasingly box-inside-a-box buildings. As a result, the relation between performer and listener has become static. The building designed by Kim creates space for new relations between the audience, the performer and the surroundings in which they take place. The design for a transportable concert hall consists of four precisely detailed modules that can connect to one another in different ways so that a wide range of concert halls are possible. At each location the building can engage with its surroundings in a new way, and also engineer another relation between performer and listener. The lightness and dynamism of the design’s spatial elaboration yields ambiguous space for numerous interpretations and types of use. Without imposing itself, the building establishes a genuine interaction between the listener, the performer and the surroundings.

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Kim Verhoeven


architectural space / Musical approaches to space

The intrinsic space In 1961, Danish architect and teacher Steen Eiler Rasmussen wrote the book Experiencing Architecture. He too calls for the use of all senses in the design of buildings. One chapter is dedicated to sound and hearing. Rasmussen invites a renewed acoustic experience in architecture, one that has been lost. We make every house and every space practically the same acoustically. Rasmussen is concerned with what a renewed awareness can mean for spatial experience. Every material and every texture and form reflects sound differently and lends each space a character all of its own. In the book, Rasmussen describes an imaginary visit to a stately home from the baroque: ‘ When you move through a large house from that

5 Steen Eiler Rasmussen. Architectuur Beleven. Amsterdam 1959.

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period, you experience a series of chambers that are also finely differentiated in an acoustic sense. You start at the entrance gate, then come into a stone vestibule with a staircase, which must have had a particular sound atmosphere, the swords clanking as they were removed and piled up, and when the head steward hit the ground with his staff to announce the visitors. From there you come into chambers with a more musical sound: a large hall and salons with panels with fabric-covered medallions, with a relatively short echo and at the same time a good resonance for chamber music because of the amount of wood. A cabinet where a spinet could be well appreciated and finally the boudoir, a closed box of panels and furnishings, a room for an intimate conversation and whispers.’5


architectural space / Musical approaches to space

In Jarrik Ouburg’s design assignment, The House of Sound, the starting point is the design of various acoustic spaces. The task involves a music building with various halls for different kinds of performances. A relationship is set up between the musical dependence on sound and silence, and the architectonic dependence on mass and space. The designs explore this mutual relationship and make it tangible. It is an exploration of form, the proportions and the materials of each specific space.

Txell Blanco Diaz

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architectural space / Musical approaches to space

Pauline Degrand

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architectural space / Musical approaches to space

In his lecture Atmospheres, Peter Zumthor describes nine architectonic aspects of his work.6 The third aspect concerns ‘the sound of a space’. He describes interiors as large instruments that collect sound, amplify it and diffuse it to other places. The intrinsic acoustic quality of the space depends on the shape of the space and the way that materials are used. In this way, every space makes its own sound. There are many buildings with their own fantastic and valuable sound that makes you feel at home. Finally, he remembers the intimate, familiar sounds of his childhood: creaking floors, wind over the rooftop, the sound of his mother in the kitchen. Zumthor’s space is an intimate, protective place where you can be yourself. Where you can feel safe, where you know not only the colours, textures and smells, but also the sounds. A specific space for a specific use, for a specific user and at a specific spot. Designing such places is about intuitively recognizing specific characteristics, about the craft of translating these into space with the right materials and put together in the right way. It is a design approach that is reflected in the resulting building, not literally, not in image, but tucked away in the tectonics, the material and the atmosphere of the structure.

Discovering space In every project, the students explore and design space with intrinsic, unique qualities. Sound is the catalyst for the design, but touch, light, shadow and orientation also have a meaning. It is space that comes from a process of listening, creating, anticipating and reflecting, from a need to make sound a real part of the design, and to make the visual image the result of an auditory and sensual exploration. Thus the image is only a result instead of a goal in the design process. Not surprisingly, it generates images that we do not yet know, ones that surprise us. Sound artist Brandon LaBelle points this out in oase 78: ‘If sound and architecture have more to offer one another than strictly acoustics, then it is perhaps in the area of adding ambiguity to the strictly functional and spatial program of architecture. What excites me about this is the suggestion that if architecture works with sound such that the placement of acoustic installations come first, it has the benefit of breaking down many of its assumptions and considers sound by its own specifications. I believe that would generate something that does not resemble much of what we’ve come to know in architecture.’7 In all these designs, formal meaning moves to the background. This means that we must also look at them with different eyes. These are therefore design results not only to observe, but also to feel, discover, listen to and smell. Juhani Pallasmaa writes about the measurable and indefinite in the Poetics of Space. More than only providing physical protection, a building must also have a soul that can be felt by all the senses together.8 This reaches to the core of architecture. Each design has the goal of coming alive through people, who must therefore make architecture their own, and also vice versa: the architecture must win people over. That requires more than a good-looking space. All the senses play a role, certainly also listening.

6 Peter Zumthor. Atmospheres, lectures given in Basel 2006.

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7 Brandon Labelle, ‘Een andere akoestiek’ (A different acoustics), in OASE 78, pp. 14-23.

8 Juhani Pallasmaa. ‘Mental and existential ecology’. In: The Poetics of Space. Boston 1994, pp. 179-187.


architectural space / Musical approaches to space

Pnina Avidar’s project Klinkt bekend (Sounds familiar) explores the relationship between sonic experiences of everyday sounds, the notation of these sonic experiences and the relationship between the experience and architectonic space. He started by studying and taking note of ordinary sounds in his house. This led to unusual notations of space. These notations generate new authentic inspirations. Using these notations in the design process as inspiration creates designs where space is freed from a preconceived visual language. The constructed and composed spaces have a different, sound-related quality. The designs are very contextual and based on routes and movements, and they also express these.

Jasper Smits

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architectural space / Musical approaches to space

Ninja Zurheide

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Three compositions for the Noorderkerk Berend Jan Bockting

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experimental space / Music, Space & Architecture

As a composer it doesn’t often happen that you’re asked to create music for a specific space. This rare assignment was given to three young and talented composers by Jurriaan Röntgen of Noorderkerkconcerten to celebrate its tenth anniversary. The composers Trevor Grahl, Rens Tienstra and Max Knigge all created a piece that was only intended for – and performed in – the Noorderkerk in Amsterdam. Before and after their music was performed they contemplated on the synergy between music, space and architecture in relation to their work.

A composer can’t ordinarily choose the space in which his music is performed, and in most cases he won’t be familiar with it. But space is important to them, says 26-year-old Trevor Grahl. ‘It’s not just a big room. You have to learn how it sounds. Compare it to a musical instrument, for example. The first resonating chamber of an instrument, a violin for instance, is the violin itself. This is a very important part of its sound. The place where a musician is playing can be considered a second resonating chamber.’ After reading The Tuning of the World by R. Murray Schafer, Grahl became acutely aware of a room’s function in relation to sound. ‘Your room at home, for instance, probably has a lot of acoustic absorbing fabric, so I can hear you when you speak,’ he says. For this project he wanted to let people hear the idioms of the space by setting up musicians throughout the church. ‘A lot of pieces do this, but most of those pieces are about the space, not about the music. I wanted to write a piece that’s musically interesting too.’ Grahl had to be a bit unruly to stay true to his own method of work. ‘The Academy of Architecture conducted a study about the Noorderkerk’s acoustics. They determined that it wasn’t good for fast tempo music, so I thought: it has to be perfect for fast tempo music. These studies are usually conducted from a traditional mindset. My piece is very fast – everything fuses into one thing. Of course this

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kind of tempo wouldn’t be right for Bach because you can’t hear the clarity, but that’s assuming that clarity is more important than anything else.’ Grahl admits he was a bit shocked when he entered the Noorderkerk for the first time. ‘It’s so Calvinistic: all work, no pleasure. The walls are big and white, and I wanted to fill everything with sound.’ One of the things he discovered early on was the effect of getting the musicians to play woodwinds behind the doors of three smaller rooms connected with the main space of the church. Behind closed doors, it made them not only sound quiet, he says, but also like their sound is coming from somewhere deep inside the building. ‘I wanted to create something that had so much sound inside, that if you didn’t have anything to look at – keeping in mind the Calvinist interior of the church – you would learn to watch the music.’ Before the performance, he tweaked some early recordings he made in the church with his computer by inserting a cathedral reverb. That’s when he learned that it’s impossible to exactly recreate the dynamics of sound within a space. ‘It’s really about the building. During the performance I hid the string players behind the wooden wall surrounding the centre of the church space, and it sounded like they we were in a different room. You could hear that there was an object


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experimental space / Music, Space & Architecture

Rens Tienstra. Canti Spezzati, 2010 (sketch)

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‘Whether the music of a region developed as predominantly melodic or rhythmic depends on whether the race of people were historically housed or unhoused, dwelling in reed huts or in tents, in houses of wood or stone, in houses and temples high vaulted or low roofed, of heavily furnishings or light.’ experimental space /Music, Space & Architecture

Wallace Sabine: ‘Buildings for music’ cited by Michael Forsyth 1985, p.3.

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‘The acoustic behaviour of caves lends itself to the evolution of melodic music. The relative lack of acoustic reflection afforded to people who lived outside or in huts lent itself to the evolution of predominantly rhythmic music.’ experimental space / Music, Space & Architecture

Wallace Sabine: ‘In the place of sound’ cited by David Prior 2007, p.126.

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experimental space /Music, Space & Architecture

that coloured and shaded the sound source, like a filter. By having the woodwinds in the other rooms, their sound was literally taken by the room. You couldn’t simulate that in any other way. You had to be in the church, in that space, to experience that.’ Grahl’s main goal was to teach people to see music, without being able to see the musicians. He smiles: ‘Ironically, they were looking at the space, which blended well with the subject of this project. It’s interesting that we live in a culture where you don’t have to see the source of the sounds you hear. They’re just there, on the radio, in the supermarket – everywhere. But when you have real musicians play real music people have different expectations. When they hear sound played by real musicians who can’t be seen, they act in complete surprise: wow, what’s happening?’ Twenty-three year old Rens Tienstra wanted to use the space as an additional instrument for his composition, which focused on a choir spread throughout the church. To him, thinking about space while composing music is not unique. ‘I think the overall picture is very important. The position of a reading desk, for instance. Or a musician’s outfit. The way coffee tastes during the break. I try to devote attention to every seemingly unimportant detail.’

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‘But when your music is performed in a church,’ he continues, ‘you have to use the space, since the space has an influence on the music, whether you like it or not. The Noorderkerk’s acoustics are obviously not suited for chamber music – that would just fade away in space. But it’s perfect for large fields of sound.’ One of the ways in which Tienstra used the space was by composing the 4.6-second church reverb in his work. On another level he created, like Grahl, an unorthodox set-up for his musicians. But unlike Grahl, Tienstra wanted movement on stage. ‘Having singers all over the place immediately created a feeling of space. The audience didn’t know where to look, before even one tone of music had been played.’ Also, movement throughout the space added an extra dimension to his piece. During the concert the choir started to sing in small groups, after which each member disappeared behind the choir pews, until one person was left in the middle. ‘That’s where the impact of this huge space could really be felt,’ Tienstra says. ‘It was a beautiful image: you could still hear the others while the last choir member

stood there all alone. That’s how I constructed a certain social space. The song, which is about the darker side of love, starts with a large group and ends with one person who is left alone. I’ve never been so close to creating a composition with such political significance.’ Tienstra learned to make use of silence in the church, since silence takes up a certain space too. ‘One of the lecturers before the concert said churches are the guardians of silence,’ Tienstra says. ‘That really stuck with me. If you wander through a crowded city like Amsterdam, walking inside a church makes all sound disappear. The space is not defenceless against all the sound on the outside. As a composer you kind of battle this silence. Silence has become an increasingly more important subject to me when I write music.’


matin, experimental space / Music, Space & Architecture

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experimental space /Music, Space & Architecture

While Grahl and Tienstra let themselves be inspired by the church space, 26-six year old Max Knigge didn’t want to create any music specifically for the space. ‘I’m an intuitive composer,’ he says. ‘I was more inspired by the idea and tradition of the church than by the space itself. Churches still have a very nice old romantic feeling to me. The romance of the Middle Ages – knights and armour if you like.’ His musical approach was also more classical than his two colleagues’ as well. ‘The famous church reverb doesn’t work well with rhythmic details. When you play fast music the sounds disappear. But it works really well if you play music with more weight.’ Knigge did that by creating a Klangfarbenmelodie, a melody that’s divided over different instruments. ‘These instruments have to fit well together, otherwise they sound too dissected. I had to make all the notes a little longer, create space in them for extra reverb, to make them fit.’ He used lines of melody that run over and through each other, creating new tones. ‘This works well in a church because the tones sound elongated anyway,’ he says. ‘The new additional sound colours that appear during the live performance are like small musical presents to me.’

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At first Knigge wanted to fill all eight corners of the Noorderkerk with oboes. But soon he found a more practical approach. ‘Oboes sound best when played side by side,’ he says. ‘So they can help each other. This achieves the best musical result.’ He agrees with Grahl: ‘Often an unusual spatial arrangement is more appealing to the eye than to the ear. For me the ear is definitely more important. Having one oboe in every corner would – in my piece at least – degenerate into loose shreds of music.’ So he chose to let the sound come from one place. ‘In the Noorderkerk the audience is seated around the stage in the middle, so the centre has the most concentrated projection of sound. If you want to blend the instruments well you should just keep them together in the same place, so it creates a warm glow that flows over the audience.’ And with that, the audience is still aware of the space, Knigge says. ‘The sound reflection of the church’s acoustics makes sure the music still surrounds you.’


experimental space /Music, Space and Architecture exhibition at a rca m

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Music, Space and Architecture exhibition at arcam Lieselore Maes

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experimental space /Music, Space and Architecture exhibition at a rca m

Music exists thanks to audible noise, constructed from sounds; architecture exists thanks to tangible matter. Architectural space is physical and therefore quantifiable, while musical space is immeasurable, since it is largely the product of the personal associations of the individual listening to it. The relationship that music and architecture experience in ‘space’ is based to a considerable extent on the power of suggestion. That suggestion of space was the main focus in the Music, Space and Architecture exhibition from 24 September to 13 November 2010 in the gallery at arcam, the Amsterdam Centre for Architecture.

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The acoustic objects on display shared a common bond in that they all were related in some way to noise and sound. In a few cases, the sound clearly concerned music; in other cases, opinions might differ. The space around the objects – or rather: caused by the objects – could not be seen anywhere and was perceived differently by each visitor to the exhibition. That perception existed solely in the minds of visitors, depending on their individual capacity for thought association and willingness to think along the lines of the object. The perceptive viewer and listener will have noticed that the various objects suggested levels of scale arranged in a series, from the sweeping space of the city to the pure intimacy of Bach and the silence in which everything comes together.


experimental space /Music, Space and Architecture exhibition at a rca m

Side Scan Sonar, Dirk van Lieshout Houthaven Project Office (Co Stor) The Side Scan Sonar, a floating pavilion by Dirk van Lieshout, was docked in the water beside the arcam building for the duration of the exhibition. The pavilion picked up sounds from its immediate surroundings with microphones placed in and around the pavilion (and underwater). These sounds could then either be broadcast directly (in their raw form) or distributed after special equipment had been used to sample the recordings with other sounds, such as archival recordings or sounds produced especially for the occasion. Visitors heard sounds from the surrounding environment, some of which were actual recordings of the noise in that area, and some which were in part manipulations that were exaggerated or caricatured.  

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experimental space /Music, Space and Architecture exhibition at a rca m

Acoustic Mirror Museum Wings of Liberation, Best Acoustic mirrors were used in the Second World War to detect enemy planes across great distances. The enormous dishes picked up the sounds of the aeroplanes and conducted them directly to the operatorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ear. The listener could manually aim the dish when he heard something, calling out the angle at which he had received the plane noises to a second person, who could radio the report in to headquarters. The device can be considered a primitive and far from reliable precursor to the radar we use today. Â

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experimental space /Music, Space and Architecture exhibition at a rca m

Helicopter String Quartet, Karlheinz Stockhausen Composer Karlheinz Stockhausen dreamed of musicians who could fly. This dream became reality with the Helicopter String Quartet. The four members of a string quartet fly up into the air in an equal number of helicopters, playing their own part individually but simultaneously. The helicopters can play a theatrical role in that they can be seen and heard by the audience gathered around. Alternatively, they could be theatrically absent if the audience is kept in a closed and acoustically insulated room. The score clearly gives each instrument its own colour line. The four lines jump from one staff to the other, resembling birds flying around the helicopters. The notes played by the four string musicians are conveyed to the audience via a mixing board operated by a sound director. When he was still alive, Stockhausen handled the sound himself. The film screened in the exhibition follows the four musicians and the composer before and during its première at Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam (Holland Festival, 1995). Â

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experimental space /Music, Space and Architecture exhibition at a rca m

Super Sonic Sound Scape Shoes, Ricardo Huisman The ‘Super Sonic Sound Scape Shoes’ installation by acoustic artist Ricardo Huisman, consisting of two huge wool shoes, is an example of a project aimed at experiencing what are known as ‘touch soundscape compositions’. In these compositions, architectural objects can be touched and imagined. They are not only heard, but also felt with the entire body, creating the experience of an architectural walking tour while standing still. The ‘space’ created by the physical experiences is referred to by the artist as ‘sound space’.

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experimental space /Music, Space and Architecture exhibition at a rca m

Philips Pavilion, Le Corbusier, Iannis Xenakis, Edgard Varèse Atomium, Brussels At the 1958 World Fair in Brussels, Philips displayed a construction of its own. The aim was to give a demonstration of the advanced technology achieved by Philips, using the most state-of-the-art resources of that time to build it. Le Corbusier was asked to design the building, but the collective artwork that the project ultimately became is attributed in part to architect/ composer Iannis Xenakis (who developed the architectural concept) and composer Edgard Varèse. The show of sounds and images displayed there, the ‘Poème électronique’, seems to have been the first of its kind. Varèse composed music for the show set to film footage by Le Corbusier. The three models of the Philips Pavilion in the arcam exhibition offer an impression of the process it took to find the right shape for the pavilion. At the exhibition, the original ‘Poème électronique’ projected in the structure was projected from the base, using the original sounds.

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experimental space /Music, Space and Architecture exhibition at a rca m

Spatial Sound, Erik Blits, assisted by Taco Keers (realization) Vedute Foundation/nai, Rotterdam (manuscript 0126) Spatial Sound, a spatial manuscript from the partial collection ‘Acoustic Architecture – Architectural Acoustics’ curated by the Vedute Foundation, is the result of a study on acoustic perception. How do you listen to a space? What do you perceive? The conclusions of this study included the observations that spatial transitions can be perceived easily, but that walls and objects can be perceived after training solely by listening; even empty space can be heard. The sound of space seldom needs to be literally amplified, since it is already perceived subconsciously. It is sufficient to be motivated to hear, to surrender completely to the subtle interplay of acoustic spatial perception and the complex totality of sensory stimuli. The deliberate acoustic perception of a space intensifies the experience of space. Movement and selfproduced sound are important in this context, since an active attitude can intensify the experience.

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experimental space /Music, Space and Architecture exhibition at a rca m

Wall/Sound Separator, Cilia Erens Vedute Foundation/nai, Rotterdam (manuscript 0127) In this spatial manuscript from the partial collection ‘Acoustic Architecture – Architectural Acoustics’ curated by the Vedute Foundation, space is seen as an intrinsic part of the built environment. Distinctions are made between indoor and outdoor noises, and the latter seem to contain the former. Where something is demolished, the object that was created by construction and took on its own world of sounds will vanish. Indoor sounds mix with sounds from outdoors until the moment when the walls have been taken down completely; those sounds have died down and outdoor sound supplants indoor sound. The spatial document in the exhibition represents the demolition site at that moment when the final walls of a building are torn down and what was inside, and the sounds it made, now come to an end. Ribbons, fences and gauze separate the listener from the demolition process and act as protection for the sound separator: the static of roofs and walls. The listener becomes part of the wall’s final minute as a sound barrier, is still standing inside but hears how the wall is torn down from outside. The materials used in the piece come from actual demolition; the sound is played in real time and is not mixed.

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experimental space /Music, Space and Architecture exhibition at a rca m

J.S. Bach’s Invention No. One in C Major, Jan Hoogstad Vedute Foundation/nai, Rotterdam (manuscript 0120) Hoogstad’s spatial manuscript from the partial collection ‘Acoustic Architecture – Architectural Acoustics’ curated by the Vedute Foundation is based on the concept that sound by its very nature offers the opportunity to determine distances in space. One important reference is that blind people appear to be able to recognize shapes based on hearing. The manuscript in the exhibition can be seen as a follow-up to previous experiments in ‘musical architecture’, an architectural theory formulated by Hoogstad and informed by his conviction that spatial definition is the essence of architecture and is based on spatial systems according to the model of music theory. The piece shows how the Bach composition fits together like a puzzle. The distances between the notes are displayed graphically, while the frequencies (which indicate the height of the notes) are converted into surfaces. All the tones thus receive their own position in space and in relation to each other.

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experimental space /Music, Space and Architecture exhibition at a rca m

Silence Dome, Jord den Hollander The silence dome is a scale model of the Silence Centre at the 2002 Floriade (the world fair for horticulture) in Haarlemmermeer. The atmosphere in this dome, which was torn down after the Floriade, was determined by the transformation of light and sound, and the movement of water. All around the structure, transparent plastic tubes were wrapped in spirals around a steel frame, with water pumped through the tubes at different speeds. The resulting mass of flowing water formed an effective layer of acoustic insulation from the outside world, making the pavilion the perfect place for a moment of contemplation. At that time, the scale model was checked to verify whether the construction would have the desired effect on the visitors.

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experimental space /Space to listen

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Space to listen Sebastian Janusz Machiel Spaan

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The Academy of Architecture organized a series of lectures as part of the Music, Space and Architecture event. This Capita Selecta series featured an additional programme of performances by Justin Bennett, Raviv Ganchrow, Sebastian Janusz, Jacob Kirkegaard and others. Each performance transformed the academy building into a space of sound in its own way. These sound spaces rendered parts of the building audible and allowed listeners to experience them. On each occasion the academy became an instrument that invited the audience to wander around and discover the space by ear. Urban sounds and the silence of a church Justin Bennett performed his piece Sundial Artist and sonologist Justin Bennett collects in the Great Hall of the academy. Sundial is a the sounds of cities. His work expressly series of compositions in which he analyzed connects to the city, the architecture and the daily rhythm of a number of cities. Bennett the urban surroundings. He is interested in edited sound recordings that he made over the the creative potential of noise — the form of course of a full day in a city (from midnight undifferentiated sound that we usually refer to to midnight) into a 12-minute compilation: a as disquiet and din. Noise represents the basic spatial scenography in which the city wakes up, energy of the city, but it is scarcely accessible to breathes, lives and sleeps. Various cities were the unpractised ear in its stacked, opaque form. ‘performed’ in the Great Hall, each with its own sound and rhythm. A remarkable aspect In The Shotgun Architecture project, Bennett was the mingling of the presented sounds with collected the sounds he heard after he fired a the real-time sounds of Amsterdam. You can pistol in an urban space along the Zuid-As in always hear the city in the academy building. Amsterdam. By listening to the recordings of The sound of the city seeps in through the the echoes of the pistol shot, listeners could find slits in window frames and door openings and out information about the format, the form and becomes part of the total sound space, and the the material of the buildings around the site. performance by Bennett seemed to enhance Each surface and each material reflects sound this experience. The sounds of Rome, Berlin in a different way and the ‘sound signature’ and Istanbul intermingled with the noise of of each place is unique. 1 The relation between Amsterdam. sound and architecture in Bennett’s oeuvre lies Sound artist Justin Bennett calls himself a in the abstract space between the time-based listener above all else. Listening carefully nature of sound and the physical nature of space. It is in this interim space that he succeeds reveals a wealth of information about the city, the street, the buildings and the space. in distilling the essence of our daily experience By contrast, artist Jacob Kirkegaard takes of the built environment. 2 a particular space, and not the entire city, as the starting point for his voyage of discovery: an intuitive search for a new artwork. He transformed recorded silences from spaces in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant into a sound installation in this way, and sound created by the space in his own ear became a sound sculpture.

1 Justin Bennett (2010) ‘The acoustic reality of urban space’, Capita Selecta lecture, Amsterdam, 22 April.

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2 Rahma Khazam (2009) Cities of sound, Stroom gallery, The Hague, 2009


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Jacob Kirkegaard displayed his aion in the hall of the Theaterschool.3 Sound and image transported the imagination to the bleak yet poetic atmosphere of four spaces inside the Chernobyl nuclear power plant: a church, an auditorium, a swimming pool and a sports hall. Kirkegaard recorded the silence inside these spaces. The sound recordings were then played a number of times in the same spaces and recorded again. Repeating this procedure ten times, one after another, meant increasing the density of the layers of sound, as a result of which a unique sound full of overtones ‘emerged’ in each space. Accordingly, each space brought forth its own ‘primeval sound’. Kirkegaard drew inspiration for this project from Alvin Lucier’s I am sitting in a room. In this performance, Lucier searched for the ‘unique sound’ of the space. By recording his own voice in a room, then playing it and repeating this procedure a number of times, he was left with just the resonation of the space. The repeated reflections of sound waves completely absorbed the voice. The result was unique to the space in which the performance took place. ‘Each room has its own melody,’ concluded Lucier. Justin Bennett brings the sounds of cities into the building, thereby allowing us to share in his own ‘soundscape’. The sounds around the academy building seeped deep inside at various points. The performance by Bennett enabled us to experience these sounds better and opened up the night and day rhythm of the building to us.

3 Jacob Kirkegaard (2010) ‘Sound artist and composer’, Capita Selecta lecture, Amsterdam, 6 March. 4 Raviv Ganchrow. Here and there. Notes on the Materiality of Sound. in oase 2009, no. 78, pp. 70-81.

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Kirkegaard’s aion does the very opposite. It sucks the listener deep into the atmosphere of his spaces. The audience is totally swept along by the silence discovered, a silence that makes more and more sound as you venture deeper into the space. You become one with the space. The building as instrument and soundscape Raviv Ganchrow emphasizes that sound establishes a connection between the body and space. There is a sensory interaction between sound and the body. We listen with more than our ears. If we learn to listen to the space in a different way we can experience the space differently through sound, just like tuning an instrument. What Ganchrow attempts to do with his installations is to render audible the sound of a building that we no longer hear. With his installations he transforms buildings into (sound) instruments. 4 In his Double Sway installation, Ganchrow let sound ‘walk’ through the gallery of the academy building by recording sound, playing it, and then continually recording and playing it again at another strategic spot in the building.5 Repeating this exercise right around the gallery resulted in a spatial sound loop. The sound ‘walked’ through the gallery from one side to the other. And the listener influenced the loop, since his sounds were also recorded and played. Additionally, the sounds of the city became part of the sound sculpture. Because of the position of loudspeakers and recording points, the space of the gallery became part of the instrument. The materials of the floor, ceiling and corners influenced the sound reflections. The form of the gallery, the corners of which are not perpendicular but angled, became audible in the composition.

5 Raviv Ganchrow (2010) ‘Spatial experience of sonic domains’, Capita Selecta lecture, Amsterdam, 6 May. (In the essay Hear and there. Notes on the Materiality of Sound, Raviv Ganchrow writes the following: ‘To hear space is to derive a spatiality from a temporal event. To see sound is to wrap that same temporality in a tangible cloak. For the listener, the distant unfolds from within the near by way of tactile interactions,

where on the intimate surface of the ear, a sonic fragment effortlessly sets forward an impression of the whole. Though once the image of an acoustic space of interactions begins to exert its presence back into the chambers of hearing, it would seem that even the most attentive listening plumbs only one facet at a time from myriads of interlocking event-structures comprising the entire field of sounds.’


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Sebastian Janusz. Deconstruction of an Ensemble

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Justin Bennett. Sundial

Jacob Kirkegaard. Aion

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Raviv Ganchrow, Double Sway


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Ganchrow’s work alludes to that of the Austrian sound artist Bernhard Leitner. His works, among them Space-Swing (RaumWiege) and Sound-Space (Ton-Raum), deal with the audio-physical experience of spaces and objects whose form and content is determined by the movement of sound. The sounds and sound sequences move through space and create a new architectural environment. This composition of sound material and also of movement adds new qualities to the space and adds an extra layer to the architecture. Leitner builds architectural sculptures in an invisible (and new) system of sound patterns and pitch, articulation and dynamism, harmony and contrast. Sebastian Janusz, architect and musician, analyzes the conventional musical ensemble in his Deconstruction of an Ensemble performance. Each of the musicians of the band called NO|me performed a composition at the same time, each in a different space of the academy building.6 The performances were recorded and played simultaneously in the Great Hall. Except that here the audience could hear the composite sound produced by the three instruments together. Each of the three spaces is acoustically different in character: piano in the low and long gallery; double bass in the tall timber stairwell; and percussion in the closed and isolated model workshop. During the performance, the three different spaces and their acoustic properties were explored simultaneously through music. The acoustic dimensions of the academy building — just like the instruments — formed an essential part of the concert. The academy building thus became a complex acoustic instrument.

6 Jan Lemmens (timpani, percussion), Yrjänä Rankka (double bass) and Sebastian Janusz (piano).

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Moving through the building, the audience heard fragments played by the individual musicians. Sound passed through the corridors, door openings and stairwells of the building. The performance transformed through the movement of listener, who could thus create their own compositions. Place and time became unique to each listener. The building assisted in this process by serving as a sound box, a sound medium and a décor. You could compare this approach with the Helikopter-Streichquartett that Karlheinz Stockhausen performed during the Holland Festival in 1995. Four string players performed in four helicopters that circled overhead in the air above Amsterdam. The sound was recorded and played at a central location. That resulted in two simultaneous performances: one in the outdoor space of the city with the four circulating helicopters; and one in the interior space (music hall) where the sound produced by the four string players was brought together to form a single musical execution. Sebastian Janusz added another layer to this in his performance at the Academy of Architecture. The spaces of the different musicians were carefully selected to determine the tone and colour of the sound. The different spaces for percussion, bass and piano became part of the instruments and the sound that they produced. Both Ganchrow and Janusz interpreted the academy building as a music instrument. Whereas Janusz actively made music at different places, thereby turning the building into an important extra instrument that made the composition merge with the venue, Ganchrow allowed the space of the gallery to determine the sound by allowing it to constantly ‘reflect’ through part of the space. The sounds in and around the space were boosted, distorted and carried by the space itself. Janusz used various acoustically specific spaces in the building as extensions of the music instruments. The spaces became sound boxes. Ganchrow made a specific acoustic space of the building audible, not by adding sound to it but by transporting the sound already present in the space.


â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Architecture is not a synchronizing phenomenon, but a gradual unfolding. It consists of a sequence of tableaux, associated in time and space. Like music it is a means of conceiving in time.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; experimental space /Space to listen

Le Corbusier. Die Reihe: a periodical devoted to developments in contemporary music. Cited by T.Pressor, 1958, p 44.

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‘The greater the ‘space of time’ (or space of pitch, or space of intensity, or space of timbre) made available by the composer for variability the less determinate will be the musical text.’ experimental space /Space to listen

Karl H. Worne. Karlheinz Stockhausen : Werk und Wollen, 1950-1962. Rodenkirchen/Rhein 1963, p.102.

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Raviv Ganchrow, Double Sway

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NO|me. Deconstruction of an Ensemble

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Raviv Ganchrow

Jacob Kirkegaard. Aion

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Sebastian Janusz


experimental space /Space to listen

In an interview in The Poetics of Space, Raviv Ganchrow states that ‘In sound, the space you experience is in flux. It’s exactly what you make of it. It is a quintessential perceiver of centric space. In that sense, addressing the sonic aspect of architecture is not so much about adding sound into the built environment, it’s really about rethinking listening.’7 What architects can learn from Ganchrow, Bennett, Janusz and Kirkegaard is that designers can learn to listen better. Listening in a new way can be applied not only to the spaces they enjoy or to the location of a new design, but also to the structures and materials they want to deploy. This listening demands devotion and calls for patience and precision, time and time again.

7 Arie Altena . Approaches to Space & Sound: Interview with Raviv Ganchrow, in: Arie Altena (red.). The Poetics of Space: Sonic Acts xiii, Spatial Explorations in Art, Science, Music & Technology, Amsterdam 2010, p. 33.

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intrinsic space / Eventscapes: The Aural Experience of Space

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Eventscapes: the aural experience of space Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter

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intrinsic space / Eventscapes: The Aural Experience of Space

The functional role of hearing Evolution allocated scarce and expensive neural resources in the brain for a sophisticated auditory system because hearing had survival advantage. While Homo sapiens eventually expanded the mammalian auditory system to allow for understanding speech and enjoying music, the auditory system originally arose as a reliable way for sensing dynamic events. A sonic event is some (man-made or natural) activity that produces a sudden impact or periodic vibrations, which then produce sound waves that propagate through the environment. Sound waves are the transport mechanism that brings those external events into consciousness. Because we perceive dynamic events aurally, Schafer’s soundscape – consisting of keynote sounds, sound signals and soundmarks – is actually an eventscape. 1 The focus of hearing is on dynamic events. In contrast, the focus of vision is on static objects. We are aware of the relatively static world of objects and geometries, which reflect ambient light, through vision. Thus a landscape is actually an objectscape. Among the senses, hearing is unique because of the properties of sound waves. The sonic broadcast of a dynamic event flows around obstacles and through crevices, entering a space without permission. Because hearing is always active, without ‘earlids’ or a voluntary point of spatial focus, listeners are involuntarily connected to those events that are audible, regardless of their location. For example, an unexpected thump from the roof immediately catches our attention because sound is an early warning system. Auditory events then tell the visual system where to look.

1. Schafer, R. The Soundscape. Our Sonic Environment and The Tuning of the World. New York 1977. 2. Cohen, S., Silverman, A., Bressler, B., and Shmavonian, B. ‘Problems in isolation studies’. In: P. Solomon, P. E. Kubzanski, P. H Leiderman, J. H. Mendelson, R. Trumbull and D. Wexler (eds). Sensory Deprivation: A Symposium Held at Harvard Medical School. Cambridge, MA. 1965.

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A useful way to understand hearing and vision is to realize that they are both part of an integrated system with overlapping and complementary qualities. The system creates an internal holistic model of an external world composed of eventscapes and objectscapes. The importance of this sensory connection is illustrated by deprivation experiments conducted in the 1950s. Subjects rapidly experienced hallucinations and mental instability when deprived of all sensory connections. 2 Hearing appears to be particularly important in maintaining a functional connection to the external world. The inability to hear events proves to be a larger burden on mental health than the inability to see objects. Martin Roth reported that undiagnosed hearing loss was the primary cause of mental illness in the elderly, and more recently, Philip Zimbardo demonstrated that simulated deafness in normal individuals produced symptoms of paranoia. 3, 4 Aural boundaries are experiential We need a framework and vocabulary in order to explore the properties of eventscapes.5 From the perspective of listeners, a sonic event that can be heard or recognized is located within their acoustic horizon. Beyond this acoustic horizon, sound sources are inaudible, as if they did not exist. In the complementary view centred at the sound source, an acoustic arena is that area within which a particular sonic event can be heard by the inhabitants of the arena. Acoustic horizons and acoustic arenas define invisible boundaries based on aural experience rather than on tangible physical surfaces; they are functional partitions of a space.

3. Roth, M. The natural history of mental disorder in old age. Journal of Mental Science 101, 1955, pp. 281-301. 4. Zimbardo, P., Anderson, S. and Kabat, L. Induced hearing deficit generates experimental paranoia. Science 212 (4502), 1981, pp. 15291531.

5. Blesser, B. and Salter, L. Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? Experiencing Aural Architecture. Cambridge, MA 2007.


‘Hearing shouldn’t be equated with the sense organ “ear”, since our entire body is exposed to sound waves… I sense with my entire body, with my skin, whether or not I can easily speak in a room. That’s an acoustic subconscious that everyone has.’ intrinsic space / Eventscapes: The Aural Experience of Space

Bernhard Leitner: English translation taken from ‘Klang als Bau-material‘, Eugen Blume in conversation with Bernhard Leitner, Berlin 2008.

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Fig. 1. William Hogarth. The Enraged Musician, 1741.

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intrinsic space / Eventscapes: The Aural Experience of Space

How we experience the eventscape strongly influences our behaviour. Consider two professional colleagues at a busy restaurant who are discussing a business project. Given their relationship, they have a preferred personal distance, which might be one metre.6 If a high level of background noise produces a small acoustic horizon, conversation is not possible at this distance. These colleagues have awkward choices: move closer to create an inappropriate intimate social distance, thus including each other in the acoustic arena of their normal voices; shout to expand their acoustic arena; or remain silent without conversing. Emotional stress results when the acoustic horizon or arena does not match the appropriate social distance. There have always been conflicts about who ‘owns’ the eventscape in urban environments, and these conflicts were seldom resolved by legal regulations.7 In the picture below, William Hogarth depicts a conflict between a musician in the parlour of his private home and urbanites whose home is the street. (see Fig. 1) From a visual perspective, there are two distinct spaces – street and parlour; but from an aural perspective, the open window creates a single acoustic arena as a shared resource. The creator of the loudest sounds becomes the owner of the arena. In the 21st century, combat over ownership of the acoustic arena has become more ubiquitous. Advertisers use televisions in the public areas of airports to insert monetized messages into the heads of those waiting for their flights. Similarly, cinema theatres are paid to deliver excessively loud commercial messages to captive audiences waiting for the main feature to begin. As a reaction, individuals often adopt a defensive strategy, using headphones linked to portable sound devices in order to suppress the external eventscape and substitute their own. Everyone wants to control the eventscape, either for their own private use or for capturing the consciousness of others. 6. Hall, E. The Hidden Dimension. New York 1966. 7. Thompson, E. The Soundscape of Modernity. Cambridge, MA 2002, p. 115. 8. Corbin, A. Village Bells: Sound and Meaning in the 19th Century French

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The quality and comfort of an eventscape is based on the relationship of the inhabitants to the events within their acoustic horizon. ‘Noise’ can therefore be considered as unwanted sonic events that intrude; and conversely, if events are wanted, they are not noise. Based on personal preferences and cultural biases, a given event may or may not be considered to be noise. For example, the eventscape of a natural forest is not intrinsically better or worse than that of a dense urban environment. Aural combat arises from conflicting attitudes towards sonic events. The ‘quality’ of an eventscape therefore involves not only the sonic content, but also the size, shape and location of the acoustic horizon. Successful strategies for managing combat involve manipulating these aspects of the eventscape. The contours of an acoustic arena are determined by the interaction between the intensity of sonic events, which depends on the dynamic behaviour of the inhabitants, and the physical properties of the environment, which are relatively static. Physical geography, whether natural mountains and valleys, or man-made halls and walls, modifies the acoustic arenas. Together they determine a region of social cohesion. For example, in 19th-century French villages, citizenship was based on the ability of individuals to hear the bells of the town.8 The bells broadcast information about events such as time of day, call to church and call to arms. Hearing them contributed to selfesteem, emotional well-being, civic pride and territorial identity. Schafer quotes the resident of a small town who remembers daily sonic events entering her acoustically porous living space.9 Her acoustic horizon was extended to encompass the larger social sphere. She could identify trades people by the sound of their horses. ‘The iceman had a couple of very heavy cobs … the coalman had a pair of substantial Percherons that always walked … the drygoods store had lightweight horses … and the Chinese vegetable men had very lazy horses.’ Inhabitants could hear fishing boats returning to harbour, children walking home from

Countryside. Trans. by M. Thom from the original French, Les Cloches de la Terre. New York 1998.

9. Schafer, R. The Vancouver Soundscape. Vancouver 1978.


intrinsic space / Eventscapes: The Aural Experience of Space

Fig. 2. Whispering gallery in a corridor at Grand Central Terminal.

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school, the rattling of leaves in the wind and the neighbourhood dog fighting with the cat. Physical spaces can have unexpected shapes and sizes, such that the experience of visual and aural spaces diverges. For example, large spaces with domed ceilings and circular walls can produce acoustic arenas called ‘whispering galleries’ (see Fig. 2). Sound from one location is focused at a physically distant location, combining two widely separated visual regions into a single acoustic arena. Thus, two people standing at opposite corners in the dining concourse of the Grand Central Station in New York can hear each other as if they were standing in close proximity. Similarly, a pair of widely spaced parabolic reflectors at a science museum dramatically demonstrates how a physical distance of 50 metres can be made to have an aural distance of a few centimetres. In these cases, the two senses – vision and hearing – rather than reinforcing a consistent spatial experience, produce quite different spaces. Eventscapes and objectscapes can be experienced in contradictory ways. Modern technology provides us with the means for creating inconsistent eventscapes and objectscapes. Electronically amplified excessively loud music at a rock concert allows the hearer to be transported to a musical eventscape while remaining in the physical objectscape of the seating area. Teleconferencing allows physically distant objectscapes to be fused into a single eventscape. Individuals separated by large distances can aurally co-exist within the same acoustic arena. Cell phones allow unrelated eventscapes to be superimposed onto each other. Consider an individual talking on a cell phone while driving a car. He is in the eventscape of traffic on a busy road and simultaneously in the eventscape of his conversation partner who is in a business meeting. The talker can perceptually switch between eventscapes without physically moving. What you see is not necessarily where you are. 10 Mehta, V. A donkey in a world of horses. The Atlantic Monthly 200(1), 1957, pp. 24-30.

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Sonic events and acoustic space While the objectscape is usually perceived by the way in wich the visual system interprets ambient reflected light, the auditory system can also perceive objects and geometries by the way that it interprets ambient reflected sound. A listener can hear the way in which physical attributes of the environment change sound. We can hear a low hanging ceiling or nearby wall because the low frequencies are boosted near those surfaces. We can hear an open door, the vast volume of a cavern or cathedral, wood surfaces, the depth of a well and the openness of a beach. In such cases, we hear properties of the objectscape because sonic events illuminate objects and geometries. Everyone can learn to hear objects and geometries of the environment, but most people never attend to this aspect of hearing. Some blind individuals choose to invest in this skill. Ved Mehta, blind from childhood, described how he rode his bicycle through the streets of Calcutta using an elevated sense of auditory spatial awareness. 10 Ray Charles, the world famous jazz musician, describes how he learned to navigate entirely with his hearing, never using a cane or seeing-eye dog. 11 One individual could identify the shape of a traffic sign by listening. 12 In these cases, the way in which objects and geometries modify sonic events allows listeners to ‘visualize’ the environment which produced the change in the sonic event. Our auditory awareness of objectscapes augments our aural experience of eventscapes.

11 Charles, R. and Ritz, D. Brother Ray. New York 1978. Chion, M. AudioVision. Trans. by C. Gorbman from the original French, L’Audio-Visual. New York 1994.

12 Rice, C. Human echo perception. Science 155, 1967, pp. 656-664.


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Fig. 3. Amsterdam Concertgebouw.

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Listeners never hear the original sonic event as it was created at the source. As sound waves propagate from the source to the listener, they are always changed during the transport process by the physical acoustics of the environment. The reflections from side walls in a concert hall add aural mass to musical events. A room with plush carpets and upholstered chairs transforms a harsh sonic event, such as breaking glass, into a mellow event. The notes of a musical instrument are elongated by the reverberation of a concert hall. The audience never hears a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;pureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; musical instrument. The physical properties of the environment always modify sonic events in an eventscape; each space creates a unique modification of these events. There is a dual relationship between sonic events and spatial acoustics. On the one hand, a sonic event illuminates objects in a space, such as sensing a wall by the echo that it produces. On the other hand, spatial acoustics changes the perception of sonic events, such as music performed in a concert hall. We hear objects and geometries illuminated by sonic events, and we hear sonic events that have been changed by objects and geometries. A high-quality concert hall exemplifies the complex relationship between sonic events and the physical environment (see Fig. 3). Research into the interdependence of music and spaces provides an understanding of this duality. A musical performance in an open meadow is not experienced in a way that is comparable to a performance in a concert hall. In an enclosed space, the early reflections from the side walls and ceiling change music notes by giving them more aural mass, larger apparent size and stronger intimacy. Musical events originating on the stage are changed by the enclosing envelope of the concert hall.

13 Chion, ibidem

At the same time, long reverberation envelops the audience in a sea of sound that is not perceived as a sonic event originating from the stage. Cathedrals, with their extremely long enveloping reverberation, allow inhabitants to hear the enormous volume of the space and the hardness of the surfaces regardless of what sonic events are illuminating that volume. With reverberation, listeners are located within the acoustic process itself and they cannot perceive the reverberation as being a source event located at a defined location. The space is made audible by the illuminating sound. Directors of cinema manipulate each of these four components to create a compelling illusion. 13 Summary and conclusions We inhabit eventscapes where dynamic sonic events, modified by the static acoustics of the space, are transported to listeners. Eventscapes are described by the virtual boundaries of acoustic horizons and acoustic arenas. Combat over control of the acoustic arena has occurred throughout the ages. Individuals have complex cognitive strategies for determining how eventscapes are controlled and integrated into their daily lives. These strategies depend upon individualsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; unique personal choices, cultural standards and the state of technology. Eventscapes (experienced primarily but not exclusively by hearing) and objectscapes (experienced primarily but not exclusively by vision) have a complex, mutually interactive, always changing relationship. Because the brain fuses visual and aural components of eventscapes and objectscapes into a single internal representation of the external world, we seldom recognize these four sensory mechanisms as being distinctly different.


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Shapes of time: an experiential account of sonic spatiality Raviv Ganchrow

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intrinsic space / Shapes of Time: an experiential account of sonic spatiality

The following text suggests that the qualities of experienced space in sound are inherent to, but not measurably part of, an acoustic domain. Furthermore, audible spatiality is not mimetically representative of, or restricted to, corresponding visual frameworks of space. This is not to say that audible spatiality has an independent existence – quite the contrary, it is linked to concrete events. On the other hand, heard spaces have no other existence than that to which our experience attests. At the same time, audible spatiality can not be reduced to a phantom effect. Audible space is ontologically ‘real’ if not merely for the fact that it is tied to a physical locale (even when that locale is recorded), then at least in terms of a status it maintains within intersubjective categories of experience. Yet the specific characteristics and qualities of an audibly ‘real’ spatiality, I propose, depend on radically subjectiverelational transformations. The suggestion is that any noticeable space in sound is an emergent property formed by interactions between listeners and contexts of sound; and that audible spatial qualities are indicative of expanded, resounding, contexts. As a result, the terms through which sound-space appears are essentially observer-centric, producing a range of discernable spatial presences. In addition, the variety of sonic presence experienced by a group of listeners at a common location do not relate back to a presupposed, objective, ‘acoustic event’ but rather indicate a form of aggregate-realism where the collected experiences themselves form multifaceted yet concrete appearances, characteristically ambiguous and at times contradictory in temperament. My attempt is to broach common-sense notions of audibility by adopting an operative mode of hearing that suggests a polyphonic approach to spatiality. To arrive at an expanded understanding of sonic spatiality, I will compare two perceptual categories, namely hearing ‘reverberation’ and listening for ‘pitch’. Admittedly these two examples do not sufficiently conclude, nor amply explain the broader implications suggested in the introduction. None the less the choice of these examples has to do with the seemingly unproblematic and clearly defined categories they maintain within common-sense notions 142

of hearing: on the one hand, hearing a ‘space’ within which a sound is understood to be contained (reverberation) and on the other hand, hearing an inerrant ‘characteristic’ of sound (pitch). My hope is that by taking two disparate positions in auditory sensation, that these examples may indicate other, less defined, categories of hearing that in turn can be considered in a similar vein. This analysis is indebted to an idea of ‘immediate experience’ as the primary condition from which ‘space’ (and its corresponding qualities) are seen to arise as secondary attributes. In that sense, ‘heard spaces’, necessarily include within them sensory encounters with lived-time that suggest embedded attitudes towards perceptual experience (attitudes that can be both intentional as well as unconscious or absent-minded). Hearing space involves a particular kind of kinesthetic: namely the specific experiences generated from the friction between ‘listeners’ and a ‘locale’. The degree to which spatial attributes in sound are an outcome of situated perceptual interactions becomes apparent when examining our capacity to localize sound. From the physical (as well as the physiological) standpoint, sound is a tactile event, entering the body from the surface of the eardrum. Nonetheless, sound is rarely perceived to be occurring at that position on the body. Instead, sounds are projected unconsciously into external locations from where they seem to be emanating. The process of perceptual localization is a complex matter, but suffice to say that when hearing is considered from the position of physical acoustics certain asymmetries arise between the position of stimulus waves and the perceived location of sound sources. The domain of acoustic propagations itself could be considered the primary space of sound. Acoustic space, or what could be called ‘phased space’, is that territory where tangled vibrations travel every which way, oblivious to any intentions of a listener. This is also arguably the most measurable space of sound. After all, the accuracy of wave equations are indebted to this particular category of space. On the other hand, acoustic space, with its


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pronounced empirical access, is also the one space that cannot be entered by way of the unmediated senses. In fact, we can never physiologically hear such a space. It is only by way of instruments and calculations (after sound has been geometricized and frequency has been spatialized) that the pronounced dimensional-voluminous character of acoustics becomes tangible. Our ears communicate quite a different spatiality in sound, materialized from within continually unfolding modulations. These emergent spaces are sustained upon fluctuant interrelations within events. In the absence of listeners these spaces remain concealed potentialities, diffuse and embedded within innumerable vibrational interactions. That is not to say that the ‘phased space’, mentioned in the previous paragraph, is any more or less of a ‘space’ than those perceived through listening, but simply that the qualitative aspects of a sonic space are dependent on the particular mode of listening that is applied (and this includes technical modes of listening such as microphone recordings and acoustic cameras). In other words, I’m suggesting that no audible space is more primary than any other and that within a given auditory context. In fact, several such spaces may seem to overlap, coincide or even coexist at the same locale. Furthermore, the biological capacity to ‘hear’ space (in terms of an ability to discern particular qualities within an audible context) is considered here in terms of a ‘practice’ rather than a biological constant. The more one trains certain modes of listening, the more a specific set of emergent sonic qualities become noticeably present. Likewise, the more one expects to find space within sound, the more those spaces tend to appear. When listening through the unmediated ear, the dimensionality of sound becomes a an audible spatiality when it is folded back into experience. Sound must pass through a perceptual process of sustain and prolongation before space becomes audible. Reverberation reveals a resounding presence in architecture inverse to its degree of vacancy. But what exactly is heard in architectures confined emptiness? In the example of perceived reverberation, 143

the impression of expansiveness depends, quite literally, on durational compounding of successive intervals. It is not the sounding of mute walls that is heard but rather an activation of intervalic-timbral relationships. Only a portion of sound emitted within a room arrives directly to the location of a listener. Most of what is heard has already rebounded off the various walls and surfaces before arriving at the ears. These movements unravel the time of the sound source, imprinting and extending vibrations into the cavity of the room. Sound propagation travels in all directions simultaneously, such that the reflections have a mirroring effect, resulting in a rapid onset of crisscrossing sound paths, themselves recursively altered by the acoustic characteristics of the hall. A simple impulse emission, such as a hand clap in a room, very quickly becomes an immensely complex acoustic situation. It takes the attendance of an active ear to take hold of the multitude of interactions, prolong their perceived presence, and provide an immediate sense of the progressive interrelations as a whole. The space in sound manifests only when sounds are permitted to linger in the ear. It is important to stress that the perception of reverberation, itself a fundamental category of sonic spatiality, emerges from compounded continuities. The particular lingering that results in perceived ‘reverberation’ is achieved by collapsing rapid, successive, wave reflections into one another so that every instance of ‘now’ contains shadows of that which has just past from existence. In reverberation, one cannot distinguish solitary sound reflections as they are delivered to the listener at too fast a rate to contemplate individually. Instead they are comprehended all at once. This process involves taking hold of the unwinding time of the sound source (located in the patterning of propagating waves) and coiling that expanded time back around an instance of sensation. In that sense the perceived spatial quality of reverberation is not so much an ‘aural impression’ of the physical chamber, imparted upon the listener, as much as it is an encapsulation of all the incidental relations between body, place and event constituent of that particular instance of hearing. In other words, the material


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and tectonic properties of the chamber only partially contribute to a much more complex set of underlying relations conveyed to the listener as a totality. Practically speaking, the sensation of an audible ‘now’ is comprised of an immediate past. What is heard in a present moment is a compounding of that which has just occurred, together with the tendency towards what is yet to come and made available to consciousness all-at-once. The audible present is a thickened condition, where instants of simultaneity melt into one another, forming distinct atmospheric spatialeties. These atmospheres, to a certain extent, condense and embody the central relations in an unfolding ‘event’. Another category of aural qualia that seemingly bypasses the question of space altogether is that of pitch. In the case of frequency fluctuations, the perception of discernable pitch arises from listening into continuous, periodic oscillations. The perceived tone height of an oscillation is relative to the specific frequency, or rate of change, at which the vibration alternates. The specific architectural conditions in which a periodic oscillation is heard has very minor, if any, influence on the perceived pitch. In fact, if one was to transmit the same periodic signal directly at the ear’s aperture as well as from the far end of a hall, the same pitch would still be discernable. It would seem then that pitch constitutes a distinctly separate sonic category than that of space mentioned in the example of reverberation. On the other hand, when examining the process through which qualities of pitch, timbre and tone arise, some striking similarities can be discerned. To begin with, in terms of relationships between stimulus and perceived outcomes, the qualities of pitch have no similarity to the intermittent waves seen in specialized photographs of sound propagation (the ‘phased space’ of acoustics). Most notably, audible pitch is continuous and enveloping whereas the acoustic waves are intermittent, spatially elongated and enumerative. Secondly, the ear does not count the number of consecutive oscillations when perceiving pitch but rather compounds motions into discernable shimmers. Hearing tone height means that the entire series of consecutive oscillations are synthesized and conveyed to the listener all at 144

once. Each progressing instant of hearing tone contains within it a buildup of immediately preceding moments, thus creating the sensation of a continuous flow with sustained qualitative attributes. More importantly, the perceptual process of compounding seems to be a key factor in the palpable articulation of qualities suggesting that there may be more than a casual relation between what is considered ‘timbral’ and what is deemed ‘spatial’ in sound. In my opinion, the distinction between ‘qualities’ and ‘spatialities’ in sound is a superficial one, stemming from social habits invested in the utility of the respective sonic definitions, and that the difference between sound spatiality and sound pitch is one of degree and not one of kind. On an operative, perceptual level, one could consider audible space as a form of ‘qualitative’ perception or conversely think of pitch as supporting an unusual idea of ‘spatiality’. The latter definition, although somewhat counter intuitive, has in my view more significant implications. This is not merely a matter of preference, it has to do with an understanding that any materialization of sound into palpable qualities necessarily manifests a corresponding idea of ‘space’ within which such materials are seen to preside. Applying this notion to the category of audible spatiality, two points to be stated: Firstly, that degrees of perceived spatiality are an outcome of interactions between observer, event and locale. Secondly, that there is no singular sound-space but rather an open-ended set of spatial territories, each containing its own logic and particularity. Reverberation, pitch and timbre can be understood as varying interpretations of the same kind of qualitative experience, namely: heterogeneous forms of audible spatiality. From the experiential position (and this applies to sensations in general), there is no such thing as a perceived qualities devoid of spatial attributes. Qualities always occur ‘in’, ‘on’, ‘beside’, ‘behind’ or ‘around’ something else. Returning to the example of frequency, if pitch can be contemplated in isolation, e.g. without an intervening space of emission, then this suggests the perception of pitch itself may be a peculiar condition of


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expansiveness. That is to say that listening to frequency is an attentiveness to the spacing of micro-intervallic fluctuations and hearing a discernable spectrum could be considered as an intuiting of various patterned emanations of time. Such a broad-based definition of sonic spatiality not only accounts for hybrid conditions between the so-called ‘concrete’ and ‘abstract’ sonic appearances, it can also grant ontological status to more vague categories such as ‘sonic social space’ (as a description for an evoked audible domain of conversation). In that sense, each sound-space is also descriptive of a corresponding ‘framework of action’, and differences between spatialities are determined by variance in degrees of relational complexity inherent to corresponding frameworks of action. For instance, a pitch-space includes a reduced framework focused primarily on relations between chromatic oscillations and postures of observation. Doppler shift indicates modifications in the framework of those relationships, whereas, reverberation includes a greater number of relational interactions. Categories of audible space can be understood to substantially exist yet at the same time they display an inherent fragility: Once the listener is withdrawn from a sounding context , space shrinks back into the expanse of vibrational interactions. The transience, malleability and listener-centric nature of audible space calls attention to the importance of individuating audible spaces. To a certain degree, acts of naming have a structuring capacity on the realm of appearances. Names are form-giving portals through which the world tends to deliver itself back to us. Linguistic categories enforce and encapsulate constellations of perceived qualities deemed particularly useful and transport them into a broader social consciousness. Specialized acoustician nomenclature attests to the utility in naming experiential categories of sound, at least in terms of the historic implications to developments in dedicated listening halls. At the same time, the futility of a definitive ‘spatial taxonomy’ of sound should also be acknowledged because the conditions through which something is ‘significantly heard’ is perpetually adapting. Transformations in the backdrop of listening occur both on the level 145

of individual capacities to ‘tune-in’ to spaces as well as within a broader context of listening itself. The potential of an expanded spatial hearing is not merely a matter of auditory concentration. Much of what can be heard is not reducible to a set of listening exercises. The social and historical context arguably play a crucial role to a variety of epistemic meanings ascribed to instances of hearing. The role of an historical constitution of the senses is not to be underestimated, especially in terms of ascribing spatial-material meanings to sound. Hearing relies not only on the space and place within which the sounding event occurs, but also on the myriad of expectations, prior experiences and listening practices that preceded (and inevitably oriented) that moment of hearing. The cultures of listening are shaped by the accumulated intentional as well as absentminded techniques and practices within which common-place hearing is embedded. The variety of spaces derived from of an expanded sense of listening are never fully comprehensible as their potentialities reorient in the double pull between degrees of listening attention, on the one hand, and the context that creates such attentiveness, on the other. Nonetheless, listening to the site of sound in any situated context potentially opens into a vast array of spatial murmurings.


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Creating space Bart Visser

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Years ago I spent New Year’s Eve in a small log cabin, far from the civilized world, in a mountainous region of Norway. While there, I had an experience that gave me a flash of insight into what the essential point of it really is for me as an artist. After a long journey, I arrived at the cabin and was elated by the rugged, snowy landscape. The first few days flew past, filled with forays into the surrounding area and explorations of the mountaintops around me. Such a magnificent white space! At some point, however, a blizzard started, accompanied by howling winds, blowing so fiercely that there was little else to do than wait inside until the storm died down. After three days, I was able to venture outside again; it was still snowing, but the storm had passed and I was impatient after the long wait. I followed the contours of the valley. After striding through the snow for several hours on my cross-country skis, something started to nag at me. I was uneasy; there was something that had caught me off balance and I was unsure what it was. I stood still to figure out what had caught my attention. The falling snow and the horizon blended together, seamless right up to my feet. I had no idea how far I was looking – was it one metre or ten, fifty, a hundred? Everything was white; nothing defined the space in which I stood. The same sensation applied to my ears. What space was I hearing? What sound in that space? Silence? No, there was definitely a rustling noise. Was it the sound of the falling snow? Or the rushing of my own blood? Does snow actually rustle as it falls? I stood still and my ears and eyes seemed like a camera that is unable to focus. I became aware of how strongly I orientate myself with my eyes and ears, mapping the space in which I stand ... and how strongly that orientation is imbued with emotions, memories, sounds, smells. Take away that orientation and there is confusion, unease; all sense of proportion vanishes. Back home, the following question occupied my thoughts: If space ceases to exist, if it cannot be perceived, is it possible to create perceptions that bring about the experience of space? 148

With that in mind, I returned from Norway and started work on an installation in which the audience is in a completely shuttered space and has to come up with their own representation of that space by experiencing moving light and sound. Various sounds – short taps, heavy thrumming bass notes and glissandos – bounce off the acoustics of the space. Your ears are quite capable of forming an impression of the materiality, size and proportions of the space through those perceived sounds. That’s how a bat finds its way too: by sending pulses of sound out into the space around it and hearing how they echo back. Later, more installations and performances followed in which the experience of space played a key role. One installation was built using a microphone and a speaker to hear the unique sounds native to a space. Each space has its own echo and its own timbre. By introducing a sound into that space and recording it, and then recording that echoed sound again and playing it back again, over and over, a sound process emerges in which the acoustics of the space play an increasingly major role with each successive recording. In each repetition, the echo and timbre have more and more impact on the original sound, until the recorded timbre has receded into nothingness and only the sound of the space itself remains. It is like a very slow feedback process that produces amazing sounds. At this stage, moving through the space again with the microphone and the speaker induces a sound pattern that is entirely indigenous to the space itself. In another installation, I took thin sheets of steel, 1 metre by 2 metres, and used a motor to induce vibrations in the steel. The resulting sound is reminiscent of the familiar ‘thunder sheets’. The motors that induce the vibrations are computer-operated with extreme precision. The installation is set up in a fort along the New Dutch Water Defence Line – a defence structure that flooded the land in response to threats, which was rendered useless by the time it was completed due to the invention of the aeroplane.


‘In Egyptian temples we encounter the silence that surrounded the pharaohs’... ‘The silence of architecture is a responsive, remembering silence. A powerful architectural experience silences all external noise; it focuses our attention on our very existence, and as with all art, it makes us aware of our fundamental solitude.’ intrinsic space / Creating space

Juhani Pallasmaa: The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture of the Senses. London 2005, p.52.

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â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; intrinsic space / Creating space

Aldous Huxley. Music at Night. London 1931.

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What is interesting about this installation is when the motor runs faster or slower, it does not cause the sound to change; rather, it is the sound space that undergoes drastic transformation. When the motor is turning over a minimal speed, it seems as though the sound comes from kilometres away, even when you’re standing right beside the installation. Revving the motor makes it seem as though the sound travels from outside to inside the space. You could attempt to achieve the same effect with speakers, but then it would remain a projection that is not occurring as such in the space. Because a sheet of steel has a huge audible body, the ear cannot localize the source of the sound. The installation also responds to the movements of the visitors in the fort. The experience in the fort is intense. The contrast between the experience of the stuffy, closed-off inner spaces and the shifting sound spaces works amazingly well. I realize that a quest for the space revealed by the work is a recurring theme running through all my work. One artist who is a huge inspiration to me is James Turrell. Where I try to create and manipulate spaces with sounds, he works with light. He works with various light sources, with all sorts of artificial light as well as daylight. In his works, a space is generally created that exists solely in the imagination, even though you are standing in an actual, physical space with physical light sources. Yet the space that emerges is in your mind; you look at it, and you know that what you see is not there. It is simultaneously confusing and clarifying. His interventions are so powerful that nothing after that point resembles what it was before. This clarifying confusion, in which you experience how strongly perception is your own creation, based on the connections you make and filled with your own emotions, memories and thoughts, is what intrigues me so intensely; it is what I seek. When I was asked to teach on Music, Space and Architecture, I immediately said yes. But how does one teach the profession that I practice? How can I give a name to what I seek, what I do, what I would want students to search for? 151

Music, Space and Architecture. In English, the word Space represents an abstract concept that has multiple meanings. The simplest definition is that a space is a functional place inside a building, like a storage room or reception area. This definition primarily says something about how the space might be used, not about what the space itself is. Another definition of space is the universe. Not only is it entirely impossible to truly imagine the proportions of that space, it is also unclear what space actually is here. Space can also mean leeway or room to manoeuvre. An interesting space: often a space that wasn’t originally intended to be there, a space created by the erosion of material that had previously filled that space. Another meaning of space is the blank area between two words. That’s a space too! The word Space stands between Music and Architecture, and that is no coincidence. Space only emerges between disciplines – such as music and architecture. Space is the interplay that occurs in the interface where two disciplines meet; it is the interspace between two disciplines. Both music and architecture are fairly clearly defined fields. Both rest on a respectable tradition. You can be trained to be a composer or an architect. But what about space? Can you make space, design it, create it? And what exactly does space represent in this conceptual trinity? And why is it there in the middle, between those other two monuments? Steen Eiler Rasmussen wrote a fantastic book called Experiencing Architecture, in which he describes in ten chapters how architecture can be experienced. The final chapter is called ‘Hearing Architecture’. In that chapter, he delves into history to show how architecture has shaped musical history. He shows that different styles of architecture led to the composition of different music, so the qualities of the architecture could be used to maximum effect. Gregorian chants, for instance, originated in the old St. Peter’s Basilica. The slow, monophonic style of liturgical singing characteristic of Gregorian chants was dictated by the architecture of the enormous basilica. The echoes lasted too long to allow music that was lighter, higher or faster.


intrinsic space / Creating space

Space is the word between architecture and music. The close connection between the shape of the space and the sound of the space can be perceived very well in churches and cathedrals. When you walk into a cathedral, the height of the columns soaring up to the roof is not all that you experience; the specific sounds of wooden chairs scooting over the floor and footsteps in stone portals are absolutely certain to be part of your perceptions as well. Space is the immaterial and possibly even nonsensory experience of the encounter between architecture and sound. The experience is non-sensory in that it lies in the connections that you always have to make for yourself between impressions of a very different nature, impressions that enter your perception through different senses. Music and installations have played an important role in my search towards making space something that can be experienced. They are interventions that serve to allow the space to reveal itself in one way or another. They accentuate the distance between what you see and what you hear, between what you think you perceive ‘objectively’ and what proves in part to be an experience created by imagination. Musical interventions make it possible to change the experience of the space and make it palpably dynamic. You can heighten the tension in that gap, create different possibilities for experiencing space, in which each individual (who after all wants to be in a consistent space) will have to make personal choices and build connections. The strength of a good work of art, a good building or good scenography is that it can create space. Space in time. Between disciplines. Between people. Between concepts. In the intervening margin that exists between people, concepts and disciplines, there is space that can and must be filled by human imagination. Stretching and manipulating that margin and, in doing so, tickling the imagination is the domain of art.

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Neither the architect nor the scenographer creates spaces made of stone, wood, metal or glass; they create experiences in people. Or, better: their work creates the conditions for the space that people experience. I wanted to give students the experience of using interventions to influence the space, manipulate it and open it up to be experienced in ways that often also surprised them. The interface between architecture and music, the point where those two disciplines meet, is an inspiring area for me to work in. Inspiring, because both so strongly define how space is experienced, but neither possesses the exclusive ability to do so. The two disciplines combine to create a space that is only revealed in that point of convergence. The precise way it will work can only be conceived in part beforehand. Exactly how people’s imaginations will be stirred, and how you create the margin – that which is left unfilled – that is needed for those imaginations to work, is always a matter of action: seeking, trying and observing for yourself. Gregorian chants took form from listening closely to the acoustic qualities of the St. Peter’s Basilica. It is frequently necessary to enter the emptiness and abandon the overarching perspective. What does the space itself want? What does it have to tell me? That sense of wandering within the space is the most exciting process in the artist’s profession. Going astray and being unsuccessful are part of that process. But it is in the almost inevitable failure that we see precisely that which we can no longer understand, no longer perceive. In that moment, it has sprung up somewhere in yourself: space.


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Building number 1077, 2001, former Stork site in Amsterdam. Sound installation with microphones and speakers that can sense the acoustic identity of a space by means of a controlled feedback system.

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(Un)Aimed, 2002. Fort Werk Waalse Wetering, Tull and â&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Waal. Sound installation of vibrating steel plates that respond to the movement of the public inside the fort. The installation comments on the fortâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s defence function, rendered obsolete as soon as it was built owing to the introduction of the aeroplane.

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Installation for seeing and meeting again, 1999. Toussaintkade, The Hague. Installation featuring rotating speakers and light that reveal the space in a composition by means of sounds and light movements.

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Noorderkerk This group of students of architecture and scenography made a performance in the Noorderkerk, Amsterdam. Small hats descended from the air channels high up in the church. Some of the hats contained a speaker from which recorded text rang out. The inspiration for the texts was to offer a path down for the long-gone thoughts that had found their way upwards in the church over the years.

Theaterschool The foyer of the Theaterschool in Amsterdam was the venue for this installation made by students. The principle behind the installation was to render audible the use of the space. With the aid of triggers and a computer system, sound became the buildingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dominant function.

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Academy of Architecture Ear-shaped shells adorned the walls of the Academy of Architecture. These shells offered an acoustic view through the walls, so to speak. The boundary marked by the wall was abolished to a certain degree. The sounds of water created an acoustic insight into the world behind.

arcam A group of students created a mechanism that could play the structure of the arcam gallery building. Big, black, round steel pipes served as structure in the glass faรงade to the water. Mechanisms that could play these pipes by hitting, stroking or blowing them translated the physical substance of the building into sound.

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Amsterdam Academy of Architecture Master of Architecture – Urbanism – Landscape Architecture Architects, urban designers and landscape architects learn the profession at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture through an intensive combination of work and study. They work in small, partly interdisciplinary groups and are supervised by a select group of practising fellow professionals. There is a wide range of options within the programme so that students can put together their own trajectory and specialization. With the inclusion of the course in Urbanism in 1957 and Landscape Architecture in 1972, the aAcademy is the only architecture school in the Netherlands to bring together the three spatial design disciplines. Some 350 guest tutors are involved in teaching every year. Each of them is a practising designer or a specific expert in his or her particular subject. The three heads of department also have design practices of their own in addition to their work for the Academy. This structure yields an enormous dynamism and energy and ensures that the courses remain closely linked to the current state of the discipline. The courses consist of projects, exercises and lectures. First-year and second-year students also engage in morphological studies. Students work on their own or in small groups. The design projects form the backbone of the curriculum. On the basis of a specific design assignment, students develop knowledge, insight and skills. The exercises are focused on training in those skills that are essential for recognising and solving design problems, such as analytical techniques, knowledge of the repertoire, the use of materials, text analysis and writing. Many of the exercises are linked to the design projects. The morphological studies concentrate on the making of spatial objects, with the emphasis on creative process and implementation. Students experiment with materials and media forms and gain experience in converting an idea into a creation.

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During the periods between the terms there are workshops, study trips in the Netherlands and abroad, and other activities. This is also the preferred moment for international exchange projects. The academy regularly invites foreign students for the workshops and recruits well-known designers from the Netherlands and further afield as tutors. Graduates from the Academy of Architecture are entitled to the following titles: Master of Architecture (MArch), Master of Urbanism (MUrb) or Master of Landscape Architecture (mla). The Master’s diploma gives direct access to the Register of Architects (Stichting Bureau Architectenregister, sba) in The Hague. The Academy of Architecture is part of the Amsterdam School of the Arts (ahk), as are the Theatre School, the Amsterdam School for Music, the Netherlands Film and Television Academy, the Academy for Art Education, and the Reinwardt Academy. The ahk, which was founded in 1987, offers a full range of bachelor’s and master’s courses in the field of music, dance, theatre, film and television, architecture, fine art and cultural heritage. The link with fine arts education underlines the particular importance that the Academy of Architecture attaches to the artistic aspect in the professional practice of architects, urban designers and landscape architects.


colophon Editorial Board Klaas de Jong Aart Oxenaar Machiel Spaan Editors Maarten Kloos Machiel Spaan Editor-In-Chief Klaas de Jong Translation Billy Nolan Copy Editing Mark Speer Photography Justin Bennett, pp. 34, 36, 39, 40-41 M. Brinkgreve, p. 94 Cilia Erens, pp. 42, 47 (above), 48 Peter van der Heijden, pp. 112-114 Jord den Hollander, p. 115 Ruud Jonkers, pp. 26-27 Hanne Nijhuis, pp, 125, 128, 146, 156-157 Andreas Praefcke, p. 58 Rop te Riet, p. 47 (below) Bart Visser, pp. 153-155 Dean Whiteside, p. 56 Selection of Quotes Kim Verhoeven Thanks to arcam Conservatorium van Amsterdam Stichting Noorderkerkconcerten de Theaterschool Graphic Design Studio Sander Boon Amsterdam Printing Pantheon drukkers Velsen-Noord Binding Van Waarden Zaandam Š 2012 Amsterdam Academy of Architecture Architectura & Natura Publishers www.architectura.nl isbn 9789461400055 This publication was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Netherlands Architecture Fund.

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biographies Rob Metkemeijer (1948) studied physics at the Delft University of Technology, where he graduated in acoustics in 1973. He joined the Peutz group as a consulting engineer in acoustics and was a member of the board from 1987 onwards. He was responsible for the department of concert hall and theatre acoustics from 1991 onwards, when he took over this position from Victor M.A. Peutz, founder of the company. He has served as acoustic designer in numerous projects for the following institutions: Royal Concertgebouw, Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, Beurs van Berlage (Amvest Hall in glass), bimhuis, Heineken Music Hall, Royal Theatre Carré (all in Amsterdam), ircam (Paris), Royal Albert Hall (London), Dr Anton Philipszaal, Royal Theatre (The Hague), Philharmonie (Haarlem), De Spiegel (Zwolle) and the Tonhalle (Düsseldorf ).

Aart Oxenaar (1958) studied art history and archeology at the University of Amsterdam. With the support of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, he has conducted research into the work of P.J.H. Cuypers. He has worked for the Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam as a writer and exhibition maker, and was the Founding Coordinator of the Centre for Architecture and Urbanism in Tilburg. Since 1998 he has been Director of the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture. He is active as an advisor in the field of architecture and planning, as a member of the IJburg Quality Team and chairperson of the Committee for Building Quality and Monuments in Amsterdam and serves on the Advisory Board for Spatial Quality in Haarlem. In addition to his work as an architectural historian, with a focus on the nineteenth century, he has published on contemporary architecture in the Netherlands. In 2010 he obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam with an extensive publication on the architect Pierre Cuypers, celebrated designer of the Central Station and Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, entitled P.J.H. Cuypers en het gotisch rationalisme (nai Publishers, Rotterdam).

Linda-Ruth Salter was a pioneer in crossing discipline boundaries when she obtained a Ph.D. degree in interdisciplinary studies from Boston University in 1984. Her doctoral dissertation examined the nature of sacred space in secular societies. Additional research showed the significance of place and spatial memory in maintaining group identity. Salter has consulted in the area of research and planning for a successful built environment in public housing, educational and business spaces, and has taught urban studies at Boston University. Presently she is associate professor in the humanities and social sciences at the New England Institute of Technology, where she fuses and integrates the fine arts, technology and social sciences . Blesser and Salter merged their collective knowledge and experience of the physical and social sciences to create the concepts of auditory spatial awareness and its manifestation as aural architecture. Spaces Speak embodies their shared philosophic bias: technology changes the social and artistic aspects of culture, while at the same time, culture influences the properties of technology, invention and innovation.

Machiel Spaan (1966) is an architect. He graduated from the Department of Architecture and Urban Design at the Eindhoven University of Technology in 1992 and is a co-founder of the Amsterdambased architecture firm M3H architecten. A hallmark of M3H’s work is an approach that engages with the design problem and takes confluence rather than conflict as its starting point. Questioning the physical, social, historical and social context determines the programme and the architectural form in all projects. The hidden potential of the site is rendered visible and can be experienced. M3H is an architecture firm that devotes attention to all facets of design, from the urban scale to the detail. Making and building are key aspects. M3H has designed and completed scores of buildings in urban settings. In addition to his practice, Machiel Spaan has been actively teaching since 1994. He has focused on creating a sensory experience of architecture in educational projects such as House for a Blind Person (2001), Tastenderwijs (2004), The Temporary Expert (20042007) and Music, Space and Architecture (2010). Machiel Spaan has been head of the Architecture Department at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture since September 2007. In that capacity, he is responsible for the quality of the curriculum and organizes the educational projects, important motives for which are the process of creation, the relation with the arts and the social context of Amsterdam.


biographies Sjoerd Soeters (1947) graduated from Eindhoven University of Technology. After completing his studies he opened his own office in 1979 in his home on Prinsengracht in Amsterdam. In 1997 Jos van Eldonk became a partner at the office, which has since been known as Soeters Van Eldonk Architects. Soeters developed into the most important postmodernist in the Netherlands. Completed in 1981, the Circus Zandvoort amusement arcade is characteristic of his early work. Soeters has mastered a range of stylistic approaches, all of which he deploys depending on the client, the type of building and the location. He describes the design position of the office as follows: ‘Because the surroundings and the history of the context are of equal significance for the eventual appearance, Soeters Van Eldonk Architects make deliberate use of different architectural languages and styles, which vary from historical to symbolic to modern.’ The scope of work by Soeters ranges from private houses and residential complexes to offices and urban schemes, including plans for Java Island in Amsterdam and the town centre of Nijmegen. The contemporary reuse of traditional elements is also apparent in the Haverlij estate (2005), where Soeters developed a plan for nine large fortress-like residential buildings set in a park landscape. Notable recent projects by Soeters Van Eldonk include the Piramides residential blocks in Amsterdam, the plan for the centre of Spijkenisse, and the redevelopment of the sugar silos in Halfweg.

After studying telecommunications, Bart Visser (1972) made the switch to the combined faculty of Sound and Vision at the Royal Academy of Art and the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, where he graduated in 1999. His performances focus on his fascination for the meaning of time and movement. He also builds installations that set up a dialogue with the space they occupy through light and sound. In recent years he has concentrated on the interface between music, drama and dance, and he attempts to bridge the gap between text, on the one hand, and music, sound and autonomous multimedia installations, on the other hand. In addition, he has participated in many collaborative projects with ZT Hollandia, Dick Raaijmakers, Krisztina de Châtel, Orkater and others as an artist, composer, conductor, dancer and performer. A number of his works have been performed at the Productiehuis Rotterdam, including Everest ’96. The music theatre collective WILco features Visser, composer Huba de Graaff and writer Erik-Ward Geerlings. Their complete works include Lautsprecher Arnolt, De Dood van Poppaea and Diepvlees. As a teacher he is affiliated with the faculties of Theatre and Architecture at the Amsterdam School of the Arts.

Jacob Voorthuis (1960) lectures in architecture and philosophy at the Eindhoven University of Technology. With a special interest in the relationship between the spatial practice of society and design, he has lectured widely in Europe and the Americas. He works as a critic and architectural consultant at the concept stage of the design process. His current research project involves an ontology of use, the attempt to put a new conception of use and ‘the useful’ at the very centre of design thinking.


Music Space Architecture