Fall 2015

Sonic Architecture: Sound as Anthropogenic and Experiential Medium

Listed in: Architectural Studies, as ARCH-106  |  Music, as MUSI-107

Moodle site: Course


Miriam A. Kolar (Section 01)


(Offered as ARCH 106 and MUSI 107.) Sound––heard or otherwise perceived––influences human existence, how we interpret lived experience, how we understand places and events. Yet our awareness of sound varies individually and contextually. This course posits sound as a medium that can be constructed and environmentally transformed. How do spatial acoustics inform and affect us? How is sound intrinsic to individual and social experience?

Built environments and architectural forms embody structured acoustic dynamics, whether their particular sonics are design features or ephemeral artifacts of spatial constructs. Musical and engineered sound products directly engage the human activities of sound-making and consuming, often abstracted from specific spatial environments, yet substantially linked to sense of place through cultural context. From vibratory mechanics to conceptual design, we will examine the material and immaterial ramifications of sonic structures and the structuring of sounds, their human interactive potentials and experiential implications. An interdisciplinary range of texts, works, and concepts will drive our exploration and analysis of sound as an environmental constant and fundament to human experience.

Students will develop two projects: a concise research paper that initiates a literature review and poses a perspective on a theme related to course discussion, and a design proposal for a space, object, artwork/installation, experiment or music/sound composition that will be presented to the class.  Two class meetings per week.

Fall semester.  Five College Mellon Fellow Kolar.

Cost: 50.00 ?


Attention to Research, Attention to Speaking, Attention to Writing, Fine Arts for Non-majors


2019-20: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2014, Fall 2015