CDE Studio 45

architecture for music & silence

Studio leaders: Dr Sofia Colabella & Michael Mack

Technical Tutor: Gabriele Mirra
Special Guest: Peter Fearnside, Marshall Day Acoustics


Studio 45 (RPM Revolutions Per Minute) attempts to clamp down on "designing for the deaf" (as Murray Schafer defiantly attributes to the modern architect) while investigating David Byrne's question about the interrelation between architecture and musical innovation.
It offers a cross-disciplinary approach to Performance-Based Design on acoustics while transforming an abandoned quarry into a versatile, multi-purpose venue for live music performances. Projects consider sound propagation and lighting design, alongside the idea of silence and noise, as strategies to generate different spatial experiences. Projects also consider the social and environmental sustainability of the rehabilitation of the quarry to define a program suitable all year round.

"Amplify Your Smartphone" is the assignment that students develop during the first three weeks of the semester to familiarise themselves with the geometric relationship between architectural forms and acoustic performance. They start by making physical models; they test these geometries by selecting and playing three songs of their choice with their phones. After this first iteration, they compare their listening experience with the outcomes of an acoustic simulator (Pachyderm) which allows them to visualise sound propagation and critically listen to their designed spaces. The iterative process includes the light and water analogy to visualise the acoustic behaviour of their models. The lighting tests allow visualising the areas where the sound is not amplified or hampered. This recursive process will enable them to focus on the geometrical relationship between form and sound propagation.

From week 4, students reorganise the abandoned quarry from an ecological and social standpoint designing a year-round musical park featuring a museum for sound&music, the main stage for concerts a series of cultural-educational activities; the revegetation of specific areas is part of the process. By the end of the semester, students will have performed many acoustic optimisations using a Multi-Objective Genetic Algorithm, mainly based on optimising the Sound Pressure Level (SPL) as either a creative or testing tool. Structural typology, material systems, and detailing are developed during the last weeks as the last iteration before the final submission.

View student projects on Miro

Architecture 2021_winter