you ever entertained the possibility of experiencing a space based on
listening? Or sound quality, not the acoustic route, we have plenty of that
already in concert halls or theatres, have you ever heard of aural
architecture? It becomes extremely interesting to think and understand what
happens in a space or building beyond its acoustics when experienced via our
sense of hearing, along with gaining another element that can significantly
influence us as we listen.


It has been said that every single one of our environments
has aural architecture, and it is that aspect of “real
and virtual spaces that produces an emotional, behavioural, and visceral response
in inhabitants. A space can produce feelings of intimacy, anxiety, isolation,
connectedness, warmth, as well as a mystical sense of spirituality”, feelings
you can perceive in a church or memorial for example, furthermore “Such responses parallel those of visual
architecture, except that the space is experienced by listening rather than
seeing”.  Imagine walking into a space
with your eyes closed and just listening to the sounds around you, if you’re
religious think about being in a church on Sunday mass listening to the serene
and melodic sounds flowing through the space, giving you warmth and the feeling
of being closer to God, we are usually not aware that aural architecture itself
is a sensory stimulus but we react to it either way.


In the book spaces
speak are you listening Blesser and Salter recognized the sense of hearing “as a means by which humans sense the events of
life, aurally visualize spatial geometry, propagate cultural symbols, stimulate
emotions, communicate aural information, experience the movement of time, build
social relationships, and retain a memory of experiences”. Unappreciated,
yet very important, aural architecture influences all of these functions, additionally
it is also seen as a “sociocultural force” in which people can also arrange surround
sound systems in their living rooms or choose their desirable movie or theatre
seats, and that if designers and architects were to notice and recognize the
language and importance of aural architecture then it can create a massive
improvement in social cohesion.


“We are all aural architects at home, the ear resides in a way the way
can’t”, states

Finnish architect Juhani
Pallasmaa he designed the International Moscow
Bank with a series of ramps draped in courtyards meant to broadcast the sounds
of the visitor’s footsteps, he reveals “I
have always found a special pleasure and intimacy in hearing my own footsteps
echoed from walls and buildings in the streets of old towns, especially in the
quiet of the night. I wanted the visitors to my buildings to have the same
momentary experience of spatial interaction and belonging.”









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