A shortlisted proposal for the Swiss Pavillon in Venice
On behalf of Boltshauser Architekten
In collaboration with Roger Boltshauser, Veronika Spierenburg, Sabine von Fischer & Andres Bosshard
The focal theme of the Swiss Pavilion is the auditory dimension of architectural forms. It furnishes the visitor with an experience of finely-tuned listening, framed within an acoustic spatial dramaturgy. The various architectural sceneries in the pavilion can essentially be interpreted as a city-sound lab, the main issue being to create a discussion platform for the auditory perception of space.
The scheme is guided by a series of instructive questions: How do architects build when they use their ears? How do materials interact with sound? How can urban sound be envisioned in a new way? How could urban space sound in the future?
The denser our cities become, the more important the design of urban sound will be in providing our built surroundings with spatial living qualities. A firm grasp of the phenomenal field, encompassing sensory knowledge about the environment, is of special importance in the correlation between architecture and acoustic design. Thus the architect has a key role to play in auditory perception in that the position, the materiality and the volumes of buildings are crucial.
Venice is one of the few cities in Europe that allows us to acoustically experience how cities sound without automobile traffic. Therefore it makes particular sense to deal with the specificity of sound in Venice, and to perceive and explore it directly through hearing. The curated framework programme supplies an added poetical layer to this sensory core, inviting the visitor to explore these acoustics not only in the Swiss Pavilion but in the city at large.
In current architectural education, the basics of acoustics and sound insulation are taught in the context of building physics. This often reduces acoustics to its purely technical aspects, while the functional, the constructive and practical aspects of acoustics remain rarely touched upon. Our aim is to elevate sound from its current marginal status and to fully spotlight it within architectural discourse. The sound laboratory exhibition invites visitors to experience an arrangement of hearings – crisp, clear, dull, crackling, babbling, and so forth – all designed to provoke and heighten auditory sensibility.