Next Project

The Laboratory of Sound - a centre for the access, investigation and storage of sound

Part 1 Project 1999
Michael Shaw
University of Edinburgh Edinburgh UK
My aim with both projects was to follow an architectural approach that was ‘in-formed’ by local forces (including the peculiar history of the site, geographical conditions and the formal environment) to dynamically interpret the brief and generate an architectural whole, both functional and appropriately resonant of its surroundings.

The Laboratory of Sound re-inhabits a World War II radar research installation on a rocky cliff head. The new laboratory is conceived as a centre for the exploration of sound, with the goal of rediscovering a sensuality long forgotten though a tyranny of the visual.
The scheme manipulates the existing containers on the site as self-contained ‘sonic bubbles’ and juxtaposes them with a series of ‘platforms in the soundscape’. The most dominant of these platforms is hung over an existing ramped structure housing digital access. It separates two landscaped platforms; an exposed sonic park, and a sheltered sonic sculpture garden.
An accompanying sonic pavilion extrudes its small footprint (minimum 12 m. sq.), to link a magnificent cliff-top panorama and rich beach soundscape by means of a helter skelter. Fragments of the soundscape are sucked up the pavilion as the subject is propelled down it, resulting in absolute sensory immersion.

The Craft Education Centre explores the notion of craft as founded in the relationship between hand, eye and the object or tool, and investigates further an architecture crafted by local forces. It expresses itself though the ductility and freedom of steel as material in structure and enclosure.

Michael Shaw


‘Laboratory of Sound’
This project brought together the concerns of architecture and the computer through the theme of sound. Sound and space are linked through studies in proportion and acoustics, but also through the sharing of terms and metaphors. Conducted in conjunction with the Department of Music, this project initially involved sampling and analysing sounds on the beach front near Tantallon Castle at North Berwick outside Edinburgh. The project began by the construction of a virtual sonic sculpture using 3d modelling software, and the design of a pavilion on the cliff top, from which one could appreciate the chosen sound. The project culminated in the
design of a sound archive centre.
Mike's is a sophisticated and thoughtful response to the programme, with some well-resolved and interesting spaces and good structural resolution. Mike has used the computer medium well, quickly grasping its strengths and limitations. He also exploited the unusual features of the site to the full: the vast expanses of concrete, the box-like constructions, the orientation to Bass Rock Island and the military, 'disposable' architecture. The project also shows a consistent line of development from the spatial analysis of the Tantallon soundscape.

1999
• Page Hits: 896         • Entry Date: 08 January 1999         • Last Update: 10 May 2001