Sensuality and Proportion
a primer in sound for architects.


A primer in sound. Sound construction. Bringing sound, music, building, interior design, architecture, and urbanism together into a comprehensible whole, getting acoustics out of the box [1] and into real life. Architects work hard in the floors, walls and ceilings, surfaces, textures - yet the air enclosed, habitable space [2] - is the valuable commodity.

In the street, waiting for the lights to change as the double elephant-sized London buses purr deisel clouds into the air, I can remember the quiet calm hum of my office, and a garden with apple and rosemary and swallows dancing overhead - these different spaces, of different characters and values, part of a continuous acoustic experience. my day, week, life. Air quivers, carries smell, invisible characteristics, yet architecture is often called a visual art. This book celebrates the fact that architecture is not only visual, also spatial, and we hear it with our whole body, as inteeligent beings.

Having read this primer, I hope you will listen differently, hear sounds of different sizes, and see cities as a living arrangement of people.


[1] out of the box - architectural acoustics is more than hi-fi concert halls, neighbour noise, and noise control. These are extreme circumstances which cannot be understood unless one has a grounding in acoustics. Actual acoustics - perhaps - those circumstances that give rise to calm and contentment and mild irritation as well as gross dysfunction.
[2] A paradox inherent to cities - see spiderweb city - even cockroaches inhabit the gaps.



© 1998-2004 Marcus Beale