Master Design Studio

Sonic Urbanism Studio_L28 18-19

Caroline Claus & Burak Pak

The undeveloped open space along the Western ring railway L28 has long been marginalized in Brussels planning processes. Thanks to its natural, historical and ecological richness the urban edge area is an excellent research object for sonic urbanism. Within the context of public park/place development along the Brussels railway line L28, sonic vibrations are dominantly discussed as a nuisance to suppress. Urban studies increasingly recognize sonic vibrations as a medium for community building and political action. Recent research in urban sound studies focuses on how collective listening practices help to develop a critical ear for urban space, thus contributing to productive reflection on future spatial plans. The search for alternative strategies for engagement, critical and spatial design is supported and inspired by the work of artists and musicians making new aesthetic experiences and new ways of (physical) mobilization developments possible. Understanding an urban area in transition as a negotiable atmosphere of sonic and vibrational possibilities, encourages a revision of the role and position of sound and vibration in the design of transitory processes for public railway park/places. Based on (pro-) active involvement in design and participatory processes for transitional public railway park/places in Brussels, our research project questions pre- established thought patterns on (sonic) vibrations and urban development. Through hyper-contextual urban sound design, we will explore methods and tools for working with (sonic) vibrations in the design of future railway park/places.

This studio is linked to the following PhD Project by Caroline Claus, Supervised by Prof. Dr. Burak Pak and Peter Cusack, funded by KU Leuven FLOF Funds project link

Titular: Prof. Dr. Burak Pak Teachers: Prof. Dr. Burak Pak – Caroline Claus

Studio_L28 is a research project that aims to rethink the position and role of sonic vibrations in public space development on old industrial railway land with the objective of activating processes for a critical engagement with urban transition. Through this research we want to tackle two things: the quantitative sonic approach that dominates urban planning and design processes and the problem soundscape-studies have with urban sounds. On the one hand, We try to expose how in a context of urban transformation vibrational agency emerges as the effect of ad hoc configurations of human and nonhuman forces. On the other hand we try to prove that the search for sonic approaches to urban transition can be quite powerful and pedagogic in offering methods and tools that can function in planning and design processes for urban transition. The project is intended to connect to urban (sound) researchers, architectural students and sound artists working in different metropolitan contexts who are interested in sharing and investigate the potential of sonic vibrations for future public space. Through network practice the project brings together actors who are passionate about urban sound and who are striving to visualize sonic futures by testing theoretical design pathways and examining architectural-artistic routes that can turn them into reality. The studio is oriented to students summoned to perceive the multiple (sonic) vibrations in the city to exploit and contrast these vibrational forces, transforming them to into actions and opportunities; they may assume a contradictory role compared to the widespread noise control practices and they can reformulate environments, perimeters and relations of urban facts and may enter into active relations with vibrational dynamics that already exist on the territory. Students are invited to demonstrate their ability to activate sonic processes, to put in motion, to offer ideas that interpret a potentially visionary role for sonic vibrations with energetic enthusiasm for a critical sonic approach to urban transition. Studio_L28 will therefore be open training ground for sonic design experimentation joined by short design lectures and performances: the results will be presented in an exhibition organized with the addition of material over the whole studio / process. Public space transformation in the Brussels metropolitan railway area of the line L28 forms the urban backdrop of the studio.

Detailed Description of the Studio