Title page of a leaflet for architects, issued by the German Department of Housing, 1957. 

Project (2015-2016)

Sound Modernities? Histories of Architecture, Design, and Space

During the twentieth century, modern architectural acoustics, in tandem with sound technologies such as the radio and telecommunication networks, gave rise to notions of endless and unproblematic connectivity. Telecommunication networks connected the urban fabric by circulating information, and seemed capable of collapsing geographical, political, and social differences. These new infrastructures and technologies challenged previous theorizations of the public sphere and promised new models of participatory democracy and media transparency. In this context, architects and designers made sound a central field of inquiry: an “object” to build with and a concept to think with. They recognized that sound actively shaped modern built environments. Approaching architecture as a medium that not only absorbs and reflects other social and political forces, but also produces them, “Sound Modernities” launched a critical discussion on the aural history of space and the spatial history of aurality.