On architecture

No, not the development/coding type…

I think it’s pretty safe to assume that we are all deeply affected and influenced by the physical spaces we inhabit, travel through, or otherwise occupy. This idea, in my opinion, applies to all buildings/structures either grand in scale or vernacular in design, and I think it deserves a general conversation in a community like this one.

For many of you, I would imagine this may take the form of the relation of sound to architecture (acoustics), or more abstract relationships with music (think Corbusier/Xenakis), or maybe just in terms of overall design, function, and history. All discussions, ideas, perspectives, and photography are welcome.


One of the defining audio-visual architectural experiences of my life is the great mosque in Cordoba, Spain.

By Berthold Werner, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47616461

The audioscape is as three dimensional as its columnar grid.


When I visit new spaces like that, especially ones that are cavernous and made of stone, I can’t help but tap my feet or whistle. Sometimes I do it without thinking about it. It’s a major part of the experience for me and I would imagine that was irresistible there.


Can you please correct the typo in the topic name? It’s killing me. Thank you!


Thank you! 20 characters of embarrassment…

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I thought it made it sound more sophisticated. Oh well. :-).

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An interesting instagram


Fantastic topic for a thread. I can’t help but be curious about how music has been developed (historically) in accordance with the spaces of it’s performance. I’m thinking of Monastic chanting in reverberant cathedrals (which came first ?)

Beyond space, it’s tempting to think of a building as an instrument. How we design instruments for the gestures of our bodies, which then mold our bodies through use (a violin-players neck, for example) …


When I was a senior in high school, our orchestra flew to NYC (from Florida) and performed at a workshop and also at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

The acoustics in that place were amazing. I’ve never been in a cathedral before or since, but I just wanted to stay there forever. No artificial reverb has captured what it was like just to hear quiet movement and voices in that space.
Performing was another matter though – our conductor chose pieces that didn’t suit the acoustics at all, and we kind of turned to mush.


Acoustic mirrors across the UK coast are pretty interesting acoustic architecture. Giant concrete parabolic microphones…


Akio Suzuki talks a lot about space and echo here: https://www.thewire.co.uk/in-writing/book-extracts/magical-stones-interview-with-akio-suzuki-by-tomoko-sauvage

And some of my favorite videos of musicians interacting with spaces:


Hey, me too! When I was a senior in high school, my choir flew to NYC from Minnesota to go to a workshop and sing at St. John the Divine! It really is just an incredibly beautiful space.

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I’m always excited to be under domes for the acoustic. Yesterday I was at Teshima Art Museum and the one piece there is just this incredible space you see in the pictures, with small and interesting changes taking place. We were encouraged to be very quiet, but the sounds that inevitably come up both as people move around and from both nature and machines outside had that fantastic sort of slapback feel you get in a dome. I think part of the appeal is it’s disorienting - it can be really hard to figure out where the sound is from. Another aspect is it’s not something I associate with naturally occurring phenomena. It sounds like studio FX when it’s not.

Other positive dome experiences include in subway stations, the crypt under the cathedral in Cadiz and passing through the domed roof of the church in Esztergom, Hungary.

Meanwhile, the last couple of days on Naoshima and Teshima have more generally hit me hard in a really good way, thinking about spaces and architecture and art. Tadao Ando is a bit of an architectural superstar for good reason imo.

Maybe I’ll come back to this if something bubbles up. Very hungover. :laughing:


I have a day job as an architecture professor. I give a class one semester each year in the ways that Architecture has influenced music, and the reciprocal. We also discuss the intersections of both fields with technology. It’s been a very rewarding thing to do.

This Ted Talk by David Byrne covers some interesting points…
Byrne talk


One thing that immediately comes to mind for me with architecturally-involved music is the antiphonal music of composers like Andrea Gabrieli and Giovanni Gabrieli. They composed works for different mixes of instrumentalists and vocal groups positioned around a specific building (St. Marks, Venice).


How was your architecture & live coding symposium as posted in the NYC event thread?

Couldn’t agree more. I went on an architectural tour of sorts in Japan, and was blown away by every Ando building I saw. I went to this kinetic sculpture exhibit at 21_21 Design Sight, which included works from Studio Zimoun (I saw this!) and many others. The space was beautiful. Like other Ando buildings, the true nature of the structure is only revealed once you going inside and perhaps down a level and experience how he incorporates natural light into spaces that you can’t see above ground. I had never really experienced that before, and was lucky enough to see a bunch of his projects.

Long live concrete formwork!


I’d recommend this little book by Bernard Rudofsky, Architecture without architects.
Hope it’s ok to post this, it’s a moma link to the scanned book.