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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The audible space : attuning the Orpheum in downtown Vancouver Lo, Hiu Ying


We live in a culture that readily and pervasively privileges the eye over the ear. Architecture is regarded increasingly as picturesque images by spectators at distance and in isolation. Building starts to lose their plasticity and the close connection with the language and wisdom of the body. However, every touching experience of architecture is multi-sensory. Therefore, architecture involves seven realms of sensory experiences which interact and infuse each other in a continuum. The thesis attempts to locate at the aural realm as a theoretical departure point and to explore ways of counterbalancing the unconscious tendency concerning retinal dominance. It is intended to recapture the fading sensuality, tactility and embodied essence of architecture. The study of audible space corresponds to one specific perceptual phenomenon as the starting point. This is not intended slightly to undermine the reality mat in architectural synthesis, different sensory categories overlap. The experiment attempts to explore and reinstate the relationship between architecture and sound. It seeks to trace for the seams which tie together their adjacencies and to overhear the different mutations of visual sound and acoustical space. Concepts and methodologies that signify the role of sound in architectural and environmental design will be investigated. The project, hypothetically the extension of the Orpheum Theater, will serve as the vehicle for the petrifying the theoretical investigation.. The project attempts to discover room and potential for improvements between the conflicting forces. The locale's charm lies in its specificity and complexity as an enduring historical local musical precinct, a neighborhood of depopulated and deteriorating street life. The study at this particular locale also tries to scrutinize the architectural relationship between the old and new and the possible regain of eminent public activities in public spaces resultant from inappropriate urban planning strategy.

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