2017: ESSAY about Architecture & Music
Essay by Architect Troels Troelsen is Chairman of the Board
of the Henning Larsen Foundation and the judging
Renown Danish architect, Steen Eiler Rasmussen, once described
how street traders utilize the acoustic properties of the city
scape for yelling or singing their message.
It equals situations when one gets inspired to sing in the
shower, or a group of children test their voices when passing
through a viaduct.
In Jytte Rex' movie "Light and Space", Henning Larsen described
architecture as 'frozen music' after Goethe who also described
music as 'liquid architecture'.
Architecture is static, but perceived over time through
movement. Meanwhile, the listener is often stagnant, while
listening to music's movement through time.
All senses play part in experiencing architecture.
Hearing connects us with architecture as we are able to hear
ourselves and our own voice interfering with voices and sounds from
the surroundings, all in all creating a sense of cohesion.
Like the sense of seeing, the sense of hearing adds to a spatial
perception when the brain combines little differences and time
shifts in the soundscape from the two ears and translates those in
to an immediate perception of space. We hear the boundaries of the
room and the character of the surfaces, and the experience becomes
dynamic when moving through the space.
Music creates space, and it 'takes place'. It uses architecture
as backdrop and soundboard, while at the same time it takes over
the space and builds community.
Like other arts - drawing, photography, and language - music
relates to architecture through its form.
It can appear as program music creating images and
Just as the abstraction of a drawing can create a feeling of
architecture, a score is able to evoke a musical experience. The
composer Iannis Xenakis, who worked as an architect together with
le Corbusier, was preoccupied by the interplay between architecture
and music, and he made experiments with musical notations
resembling the architect's sketches.
The associations between architecture and music are manifold.
Rhythm, tonal frequencies and space proportions are like
architecture connected to the human scale.
Can you imagine music that interplays with architecture in a way
where architecture and music are perceived as an artistic
The intention behind the competition is to conceive a piece of
music that can stand alone but at the same time is closely
connected to or in symbiosis with architecture. Music that recalls
dreams of architecture, maybe even as a musical 'promenade
We envision a composition of 2-6 minutes' duration.
The composition is allowed to include a reference that is not
part of the actual work; Such as a piece of architecture, a
painting, a photograph, a drawing or a text.
The work is allowed to have a name or a title. Furthermore,
individual words can be included in the work.
The proposals must be submitted as audio files; The form of
music is free. In order to be judged the music should be made ready
for playing on a regular stereo.
The submissions will be judged by artistic / musical quality and
by their ability to create symbiosis between architecture and
Download the competition guidelines here (PDF opens
in new window).