Humankind’s ideas about sound have evolved, starting during the era of cave dwellers, who took advantage of the aural environment in caves to enhance the sounds that accompanied cave painting rituals. Caves are reverberant, and the effect of sounds chanted within such environments have vastly different emotional effects from the same sounds chanted in an open field. Today, in the twenty-first century, we are beginning to ‘hear’ buildings that incorporate sound as an interactive aspect of the building façade (DWi-P). We also have buildings that use new technologies for sound isolation and sound projection, and digitally controlled systems that offer built sound environments that exceed the technical possibilities of sound rooms from past eras (EMPAC).
The making of architecture inherently relates to the creation of different sound environments, even if those aural environments are not an explicit part of the building program, and even if the architects and building clients are not aware that they have created an aural environment every time they build a project. The Sound Urbanism/ Sound Ecology course is aimed at making students of architecture, music, and the fine arts sensitive to the affect of built environments, and sound- marks within that environment, on our aural, or sound, ecology. The course will reinforce how architects and artists have control over the sound arena of the environments that they interact with, and will make musicians sensitive to performance environments to allow a better understanding about the aural possibilities of indoor and outdoor spaces.
Architectural design is the creation of an envelope that controls the sound, light, air and other forces of a specific location in space and time. In this seminar, we focus on the control of sound, and the identification of various factors that affect sound in the built environment. Buildings and outdoor spaces designed without sensitivity to the aural environment are also, often, not successful. Often, designers ignore the aural environment. But if sound is controlled, it makes an enormous difference to the experience of the building or landscape. When you go to see a movie, for example, sound is tightly controlled by the team who developed the film score. Rooms can be like film scores - and emphasize their public or private nature, through sound.
Cities and urban plans are intimately related to sound. The creation of cities in the past included the idea of an aural border (the edge of town): it represented the perimeter that a landscape would allow for the propagation of civic communication through the city’s main public buildings, including churches and church bells, fire stations and fire alarms to call out fire locations, factories and whistles to announce the start of the factory work day, as well as other civic institutions that use sound signals for civic communication. City planning includes the design of appropriate sound environments for residential areas, schools, libraries, or public performance venues.
Similarly, Victoria Meyers architect's 'LightScore' performed at the Kitchen space for Performance and Art in New York City, also explored the boundaries between form, space, light and sound.
Shown above, the 'Music Box' designed in 2009 for Michael Schumacher; and, adjacent, Michael Schumacher on piano. The Music Box is an Anamorph, in reference to Michael's work with Victoria, which involved a set of aesthetic propositions around the concept of sound, as a formal element, within the urban environment. The class will design their own concept for a Music Box as a class project, for UC Composer Dr. Mara Helmuth.
Formal sound spaces designed by hMa and Meyers include WaveLine, in Queens, New York. WaveLine is located near the Queens MoMA, and PS 1.
For more information about Sound Urbanism, see earlier posts by this blog. In 2014 Victoria will be publishing Shape of Sound, with Black Dog Publishers, London.
Both projects are high-end residential. Dune house, at the top, is for a family of five in Amagansett, NY. Downtown Loft is a high-end residential loft for a couple in NYC.
Dune House was developed to be built with state-of-the-artgreen technologies, to allow the house to be constructed within a fragile dune reserve area. The base of the house is an existing building, and all water use, electrical, and materials are state of the art green, to give the house a less than zero-carbon-footprint. The builder for the house has agreed to use best practices to protect all native species on the site. The Owners have also hired a Landscape Architect to remove all non-native invasive species, and replace them with native plant species.
Dune House is a courtyard design, with the house and out-building arranged around a new, free-form pool, with glass sides. It is possible to look into the pool from the East and South elevations.
Both projects feature extensive woodwork, including cabinetry inserts by hMa collaborator, Miya Shoji, located in NYC.
In 2007 hMa's Pratt Pavilion opened to public praise and attention. The project has been recognized with awards from the Architectural League of New York City, the AIA NYChapter, and from Build Brooklyn. In 2009, Pratt was included in the Phaidon Atlas of World Architecture.
Pratt Pavilion: showing hMa's 3-D design study, next to the finished project. Post: Victoria Meyers architect
Pratt Pavilion was designed by NY architects hMa, with design Principal Victoria Meyers looking at various precedents for the building. These included projects where sculptural objects suspended above people who moved below them in the landscape.
For this reason, Victoria Meyers architect refers to the Pratt Pavilion as 'visceral space', as the building gives visitors the sense of walking beneath a suspended object.
hMa's Pratt Pavilion, next to a photograph of Michael Heizer's 'Levitated Mass' at LACMA. Post: Victoria Meyers architect
To see more information about Victoria Meyers architect, Pratt Pavilion, and hMa, visit our website: www.hanrahanMeyers.com.
View looking up at the Pratt Pavilion, from below, next to hMa's bird's eye view of the pavilion, during the design phase. Post: Victoria Meyers architect
hMa's Pratt Pavilion was designed as the first building to fulfill the Pratt Master Plan, on the Pratt Institute campus in Brooklyn, NY. The building is open to the public, daily. hMa were also part of the Master Plan design committee, and developed many aspects of the Pratt campus master plan, including design guidelines for all new buildings to be built on campus, from 2005 - the future.
Clients for Pratt Pavilion include Juliana Curran Terian, Pratt Board member and the building's donor, as well as President Thomas Schutte, the President of Pratt Institute.
Architectural League of New York, Brooklyn NY, famous buildings in Brooklyn NY, Juliana Curran Terian, Michael Heizer, Phaidon Atlas of World Architecture, Storm King Art Center, Thomas Schutte, Victoria Meyers architect
WaveLine is a small pavilion in Queens, New York, designed by Victoria Meyers architect, with hMa. The building opened in 2007, and was designed as a 'sample' wave form, in collaboration with Disney Hall acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota. The pavilion was designed as a multi-purpose sound space, for music, spoken word, and sport.
hMa's client for the building was the New York City Housing Authority. The project developed over a five year design period, that included the design of a faceted metal roof that bent in response to sound wave forms. The building was designed with acoustical wall pads that can be removed to increase the resonance of the room. The building is used for music, public meetings, and sports.
WaveLine is a building developed after the architects spent time studying wave forms. The roof shape was studied in various configurations before the architects settled on the final faceted form.
To see more information about WaveLine, visit hMa's website: www.hanrahanMeyers.com.
Victoria Meyers: Designing With Light
New York Architects Victoria Meyers and Thomas Hanrahan believe that architecture is an environment, 'pure space', manifested in nature. The principals of hanrahanMeyers architects (hMa) have established themselves as unique visionaries, incorporating light and sound into their arresting designs of pure forms. Founded in 1987, the firm specializes in residences, art centers, and community spaces. They design spaces from a vision that connects visitors with the natural world.
Victoria Meyers: Shape of Sound Architect Victoria Meyers analyzes the shape of sound; architecture and sound; form; materiality; windows; the urban sound scape, its politics, aesthetics and social character; reflection; virtuality; sound art; and silence.
Shape of Sound on Amazon
Victoria Meyers: Shape of Sound Victoria Meyers architect (Los Angeles, Ca.), principal of hanrahan Meyers architects (hMa) explores sound as it effects architecture, urban spaces, and landscapes. Contributors include hanrahan Meyers architects (featured on the book cover), Stephen Vitiello, Michael J. Schumacher, David Mather, Neil Denari, Bruce Pearson, Howeler and Yoon architecture, and Joseph Ketner.
hMa : Green Initiatives / Sustainable Architecture
The Conservation Fund As part of our nature based vision for architecture, hMa gives a percentage of the firm’s annual revenues to nature initiatives. This year, hMa funded ‘Wildlife Corridors’, through the Conservation Fund. ‘Wildlife Corridors’ provide natural zones through cities and towns that link animals with adjacent nature preserves. This initiative is one of several cutting-edge planning initiatives that forward thinking architects will be adopting as we seek to harmonize human habitats with nature and create sustainable development.
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