Sound and Sound Technology as Spatial Parameters

Veranstalter: Professur Stalder
Datum: Donnerstag, 2. Juni 2011
Ort: Collegium Helveticum, Zürich

Space is both the site of sound and the subject of architectural theory. Space contains sound, it can be experienced through sound, and be measured against the concepts that have informed its design. What is at stake are the methods by which the interrelation of sound and space can be investigated.

In a one-day seminar, we will explore the scope of possible methods for describing spatial conditions through the lens of the acoustic, the sonic and the aural, and as histories where architecture, technology and aesthetics merge. The goal is the scientific exchange among a new generation of researchers, in an attempt to evaluate and strengthen the various emerging studies connecting sound and space. The transdisciplinary seminar in the matter of sounding space focusses on the role of sound in 20th century architecture. In this context, sound and the technologies related to it are indicators of change, parameters of spatial differentiation, and determining factors of what is often referred to as ‘environment‘ in the post-war period. The space of the acoustic laboratory, as an example, is not only the site of scientific research, but also the source of spatial concepts that have deeply influenced 20th century architecture. Buildings are no longer constructed according to traditional techniques; they much rather follow specific parameters of which acoustics are often the last, but not the least. Buildings and rooms are increasingly defined by technological installations, and, as such, produce highly controlled sensorial experiences. Sound dampening, insulation to the extent of the total isolation of space, and electro-acoustic amplification have made a critical contribution to 20th century spaces. So far, however, they have received little scholarly interest. Ultimately, these technologies raise questions of their aesthetic consequences, and, in architectural terms, of the spatial conditions of the present.

Organized by Prof. Dr. Laurent Stalder and Sabine von Fischer, Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture, ETH Zürich.


Prof. Dr. Laurent Stalder