Architecture as frozen music: perception of crossing boundaries as audible experience

Kyung Wook Seo*, Dong Yoon Kim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Purpose: Analysis of architectural space is commonly conducted by examining architectural drawings that project spatial information by means of walls and partitions. To capture the lived experience of space, which is richer than what we can see from drawings, a new method is proposed to quantify the cognitive dimension of space and re-present it as an audible format.

Design/methodology/approach: Using an urban vernacular house in Seoul as a case study, this research takes a syntactic approach to quantify one's changing perception through their movement from the main gate to the most private reception room. Based on Luigi Moretti's theory of hollow space, a new method is proposed to measure the level of spatial pressure exerted on a navigating body. The numerical data of spatial pressure are then converted to a sound using musical techniques of the chromatic scale and chorale textures. 

Findings: Building on Moretti's abstract concept, it has been shown that a rule-based quantification of users' spatial perception is possible. In addition, unlike conventional approaches of treating architecture as a static entity, this study showed an alternative approach to represent it as a sequence of sensorial experience that can be readily converted to a sound of music. 

Originality/value: This research developed a quantification method to measure the perception of pressure inside buildings by revisiting Luigi Moretti's theory proposed in 1952. It has been also demonstrated that the visual stimuli in space can be translated into an audible experience. This new method is applicable to a wide range of buildings including important historic architecture.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Architectural Research: ArchNet-IJAR
Early online date5 Dec 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Dec 2023

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