Adaptation and Environment: When Architecture Shapes Us Through Sound

When taking a closer look at the relationship between music and the theater in which it is played, the composer becomes a pivotal link between the two that provides some intriguing insight into ways that architecture shapes its occupants.

As architects, we like to think that we shape architecture — but as most of us know it also shapes us. The relationship between adaptation and environment often works both ways, and for this reason, I encourage you to watch the following video where David Byrne will take you through the evolution of music, and the strong role theaters and other “venues” play, as the space “surrounding” a performance actually becomes its extension.

In particular, look for his juxtaposition between the way music has developed to fit particular venues of its time, and how birds from different regions and geographic environments actually evolve to develop different bird calls. As you will soon learn by watching the video below, David Byrne paints a picture of not only why architecture is significant in uplifting the lives of its occupants through sound, but also will get you thinking about ways you can enhance your architecture by knowing full well that you are creating a context that your occupants will need to inadvertently fit into, as much as it will need to fit them.

Here is the video entitled How Architecture Helped Music Evolve:


What Does This Mean for Your Designs?

After watching the above video, you are probably left with a better understanding as to why the design of architecture is so critical to not only help people be more functional, but to also help entire cultures to evolve. It is as if architecture is both a thumbprint of a person or a culture, while also serving as a vessel within which a person or a culture can develop and thrive. And a key component that makes all of this happen are the senses with sensorial stimuli, like sound through music.

Thus, by understanding more about sensory design, your architecture will stand a better chance of growing, learning and evolving with its occupants, by not only fitting them now, but also helping them to realize their future through context. As your occupants use your building either for an hour, for decades or over many generations, it must meet their needs on many levels — intellectually, emotionally, physiologically, behaviorally and spiritually. And still, the senses play a large role on all of these.

In order to do all of this well as an architect, it will often help to delve into how the human senses absorb, process and actuate stimuli. By getting a richer understanding of this, you will equip yourself to create designs that grow and evolve — to actually become an extended “instrument” with which not only musicians and composers create and perform music, but also with which occupants can realize a better extension of themselves as they experience each moment of every day.

Image Credit: © seier+seier | Flickr




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