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Now Hear This: Yale Symposium to Explore ‘The Sound of Architecture’

Ready your tympanic membranes, design fans, because the fall runneth over with auditory delights. Mere weeks after the publication of David Byrne’s How Music Works (McSweeney’s), the Yale School of Architecture will present “The Sound of Architecture,” an interdisclipinary symposium exploring the auditory dimension of architecture (you may recall that Byrne himself is a pioneer of the building-as-musical instrument mode).

Yale professor Kurt Forster and Ph.D. candidate Joseph Clarke have lined up a veritable orchestra of experts—from fields as diverse as archaeology, media studies, musicology, philosophy, and the history of technology—to address the largely unconsidered aural dimension of architecture. Sessions include a keynote lecture by Elizabeth Diller (Diller Scofidio + Renfro), who will reflect on the role of sound in her firm’s early media artworks and its more recent architectural interventions at New York’s Lincoln Center; Brigitte Shim (Shim-Sutcliffe Architects) on the architectural calibration of a house designed for a mathematician and amateur musician; and John Durham Peters of the University of Iowa on the “theologically embedded soundspace” that is the Mormon Tabernacle. Also not to be missed is Yale professor Brian Kane’s discussion of “Acousmatic Phantasmagoria,” which only sounds like the affliction of a doomed Edgar Allen Poe protagonist. The symposium, which is free and open to the public (pre-registration will be available soon here), takes place October 4-6 at the Yale School of Architecture. Fingers crossed for an opening Frank Sinatra medley by Bob Stern!

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