In the ongoing quest to improve how we communicate and listen to one another, architectural experimentation has played a vital role. The development of modern building acoustics over the past 300 years has been entangled with profound transformations in media, music, and the public sphere. Designers’ evolving efforts to alter the sound of buildings — to evoke impressions of monumentality or intimacy, make speech intelligible, or ensure privacy — have encouraged people to hear and interact in new ways, even as the built results have sometimes fallen short of expectations.
This lecture, inspired by the publication of Clarke’s new book Echo’s Chambers: Architecture and the Idea of Acoustic Space (2021), will highlight connections between architects’ struggles to design for sound and the histories of deafness, ventriloquism, and the emergence of new listening publics.
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