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  • Sonic Morphologies

    Joanna PAWLAS, Sonic Morphologies.
    london UNITED KINGDOM

    Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
    critics: Marcos CRUZ, Marjan COLLETTI, & Richard BECKETT

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    Joanna PAWLAS: The project is conveyed in the design of compact accommodation towers that inhabit urban soundscape of Kwun Tong in Hong Kong and facilitates controlled sonic environments through creation of site-specific, parametric geometry of reflective surfaces and levels of sonic permeability by means of natural acoustics.

    The design involves implication of acoustic zoning directly related to frequency mapping of HK urban soundscape on both macro- (audiourbanism) and microscale (audiobrick). This is achieved through the proposition of the following sonic zones: acoustic gardens—the concave acoustic mirrors are external spaces of accommodation units focusing the sounds of the city; audiobrick—acoustic filtration system within the public areas, create a porous wall interface in which particular sound frequencies are filtered or enhanced; what transpires into; the noise attenuating zone—on the street level.

    The relationship between external urban soundscape and internal sonic intimacy, and the possibility of its translation into tangible geometry, consequently opens up more intricate condition-controlled acoustic permeability.

    The design research was commence though digital tools: auralization software, simulation of acoustic output, as well as response testing 1:1 and 1:5 digitally fabricated models; from concrete and wax casting to milled polystyrene and multimaterial 3-D printing.
    The design outcome attempts to contradict the hegemony of vision in contemporary architecture by proposing a building that is both tectonically relevant and phenomenologically stimulating.

    sP: What or who influenced this project?
    JP: Mostly, the talented peers that I am surrounded by and the lengthy, thought-provoking conversations at Unit 20; the Bartlett has reinforced my critical approach to design, and curiosity for the multidisciplinary aspect of architecture and digital fabrication processes as a central catalyst for design. I am mostly influenced by phenomenology as both philosophical and design current in contemporary architecture, however in a “digital edition” with biomimicry as a core driver.

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    JP: Primarily, I was listening and analysing audio data of the soundscape recorded in Hong Kong. Also, I found most stimulating the work of contemporary musicians: Leszek Mozdzer and Toshiya Tsunoda. The readings that accompanied me throughout the development process were: Sonic Experience: A Guide to Everyday Sounds by Jean-Francois Augoyard and Henri Torgue (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2005); Acoustic Territories / Sound Culture And Everyday Life by Brandon Labelle (New York: Continuum Publishing Corporation, 2010); Silence: Lectures and Writings by John Cage (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press, 1973).

    sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
    JP: Architects: Wolfgang Tschapeller, Achim Menges, Gramazio & Kohler, Foster+Partners, Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa / SANAA. Artists: Gustav Klimt and Anish Kapoor. Directors: Pedro Almodóvar.

    Additional credits and links:
    Special thanks to Paul Bavister for thesis supervision and acoustic consulting.

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