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Archicoustics - A (Sound)ing Architecture

Part 2 Project 2010
Paul Michielsen
Hogeschool Rotterdam | The Netherlands
Archicoustics gives acoustics a starring role rather than treating them as a side effect of the design process. The term is an interpretation of the relationship between ‘sound’ and ‘space’ that can be traced to the ancient Greeks auditoriums. Archicoustics studies the archetypal acoustic conditions that define new spatial assumptions. Such conditions define the basis of the form given to the various sound chambers in the building. Extreme acoustic conditions – each treated as a specific characteristic – are taken into consideration in the design of these spaces.

The Sound Building is on the campus of Eindhoven University of Technology (NL), nearby the central train station and the city’s beltway. It comprises a network of artists, scientists and students, some of whom are associated with the university. The project works as an intermediary that links culture, education and business.

Amidst the clamor of life in the city, Archicoustics provides a moment of stillness with a public character. The sound chambers create varying accents within this - primarily underground - tranquil pause. The program is further rounded out with a foyer, a shop and archives: facilities inserted into voids between sound chambers. A ‘soundless’ ground-level plaza is open to the public; here visitors find the entrance. Stairs and elevators ‘leaking’ sound from underground shafts make the entrance ‘audible.’ An existing cycle and pedestrian connection runs through this plaza, and a route begins here, where visitors find a permanent exhibition on sound.

A stack of 12 sound chambers, each with a specific acoustic character, follows an increase in the spatial perception of sound inside Archicoustics. Stairs, elevators, restrooms and plazas feature small acoustic details that refer to archetypal sound chambers. Sound experience is essential while wandering through the building. All vertical walls are cladded with wood. This skin is perforated to absorb sound, and built-in lighting in the cavity walls emits an attractive glow that illuminates the atrium. Ambient lighting in the atrium is dim; in this space, sound is the sole focus of attention. Light entering through perforations blurs the formal expression of the spaces.

Archicoustics claims an auditive moment.

Paul Michielsen

You ask me what the extra value of acoustic architecture is?

How dare you!

How many field recordings of breathtaking ‘sound rooms’ do you want listen to me?
How many names of composers, musicians en sound artist do you want to email me?
How many publications will you give to me about sound projects, events en thoughts?
How many passionate discussions will we have about sound qualities within architecture?

You ask me what is the extra value of ‘Archicoustics’?

You mean ‘Archicoustics’ as a stage for sound art, a place for theoretic research, active not passive.
Within the city, as a gate for science and research?

Finally justice I would say! You found the perfect place for the building, on the campus of Eindhoven Technical University.
Varèse, Le Corbusier and The Apollohuis were no accidental passer bye's in Eindhoven.

Your auditive spaces will attract musicians and composers, like red cloth attracts bulls!
Also future visitors of the building will experience the through power of acoustics within the mental spacial awareness!
Everybody who went into an empty church and clapped his hands knows what I am talking about.
Compared to this experience in a church, ‘Archicoustics’ brings numerous of these sound experiences within one building.

Dear Paul, breathtaking extreme gestures have a right to exist within itself
In every good design the architect is invisible! Or to say it like Broodthaers did : L’ architect est absent.

Broodthaers approached the building in the same way an artist builds an exhibition, from the content of the works.
Your building is like this! Space, sound, situation, organisation, shape, materials all derived from sound.

A complex simplicity and an apparent self evidence!
A good architect gives space, he does not take space!
In the free space, art is able to survive.
We hear the spaces, we feel, taste and smell architecture......

We must close our eyes!
How many extra value do you wish for?


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