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Department of Architecture


Fiona Smyth (author of the forthcoming book Acoustical Sparks)

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Fiona’s research lies at the interface of the history of architecture and the history of science with particular emphasis on acoustics. Her forthcoming book Acoustical Sparks (Manchester University Press) investigates musical and architectural experiments in the twentieth century, exploring the concept of building as instrument, and examining how ideas in music and science became manifest within architectural design.

She is an ERC awardee for the project Spectres & Camouflage: The Sound of Silence which moves from her prior work on designing for musical tone into an examination of the cross disciplinary transfers and transformations of knowledge that shaped environmental design for silence in the 20th century.



This lecture, drawn from a forthcoming book entitled Acoustical Sparks, draws upon the history of acoustics to interrogate changing perceptions of the role of science in architecture (and in architectural education) in the early twentieth century. It presents a narrative about reframing ideas and contexts in the history of architecture, construction and science, where music and memory also played fundamental roles.

Wednesday, 15 June, 2022 - 13:30 to 15:00
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