Sound and the Schindler House
This proposal describes an experiment where qualities and characteristics of the Rudolph M. Schindler’s Kings Road House are translated through the modality of sound using methods of sampling and transformation. Introducing ideas and concepts found within the context of the Schindler House, this proposal examines a few methods used to relate space and sound. It outlines a method for the multi-modal integration between architecture and sound using techniques of sampling and transformation and asks the questions: Can sound help us analyze and understand architectural structures differently? How can we translate between these two modalities and generate new spatial forms? Can these explorations provide the ability to re-imagine new ways for sound and architecture to relate throughout the unique context of the Schindler House? In addition to the described project is an accompanying proposal for an immersive installation within the spaces of the Schindler House. The goal of this proposal is to allow the experiences discovered through this experimental integration to become realized in real-time by those visiting this subtle and beautiful place.
The Schindler House is a piece of architecture of delicate and deliberate finesse. Inspired by Yosemite National Park, methods of scale and material respond with poetics, perfect and true to a natural dialogue between space and the outside environment. Held inside its walls, one is never far from the presence of nature, its balance and beauty always peering inside and framing the space both inside and out. Composed through a grid, section, surface, and perspective, the Schindler House focuses on the presence of space and the surrounding landscape, the one enveloping the other.
Having been a key player in the modern living movement, the Schindler House once had a lively salon scene, serving as a meeting place to share food, wine and progressive thought amongst artists, architects, and political figures. The house also served as studios and intimate thinking spaces for the Schindler and Chace families, having a particular quiet and calmness to its atmosphere. While wandering through the interior spaces or meandering through the gardens outside, the delicate character of the subtle experience is unmistakable. Allowing the shining character of the Schindler House to lay undisturbed, this study brings a new attention to the sonic aspect of the house, to encourage a different beauty to radiate and bring pleasure to our minds and our ears.
The intersecting space of nature, architecture, and sound is the canvas to re-imagine the Schindler House. Sound and silence, texture and color, frequency and amplitude are the materials to experience this new space. Between the grass and gardens lay the open textured surfaces of concrete, wood, and glass. These surfaces serve as mediators, letting the inside out and the outside in. Balance between the exterior and interior is key for one inspires and intersects the other. This in-between space is where the perceivable becomes presented, the “raw material” of sonic space.
Sonic and Spatial Sampling:
Sampling is an important technique used in this project, and the manipulation of the sampled characteristics give us the material to compose new forms and open the possibility of listening to space in new ways. In this project sampling is explored in two different capacities. The first is sonic sampling and uses particular microphones to listen and collect sounds from space. The second is spatial sampling and uses a 3D scanner to collect spatial data from the structure and volume of the space.
Translation, Transformation and New Forms:
New material can be generated through translational and transformational processes to influence the design of new forms and sonic identities, as both architectural structures and compositional soundscapes. Since the sampled material is not a geometric primitive, but a complex assemblage with spatial characteristics and a unique temporal signature the design process is open to new opportunities represented by the newly generated model.
Composition and Interaction:
The nature of music is a dynamic modality embedded within the temporal domain. To experience such a project it is necessary to allow the project to be experienced first in person and in real-time and not only by representative means. This is accomplished by expanding the mentioned sampling methods into an interactive component. A microphone matrix throughout the inside and outside of the house working with the 4 by 4 grid established by Schindler will be built to sample selected materials and spaces. An interactive program will collect these sounds in real-time and combine and process them with the 3D scan that was previously discussed. A soundscape is then composed and distributed through twelve speakers arranged throughout the Schindler House, eight inside (two within each studio space) and four outside (two in the front and two in the back gardens). Parameters based on the 4 by 4 grid, plan, material elements, sampled color, spatial rhythms and proportions would modulate the collected sounds and synthesize new ones.