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An Echo to the Sense

Silin Wang, Zhiqi Shen & Yiwen Cai

“If a work of architecture consists of forms and contents that combine to create a strong fundamental mood powerful enough to affect us, it may possess the qualities of a work of art. ”
― Peter Zumthor

"An Echo to the Senses" is designed based on the music piece "The Introvert" by Michael Kobrin. It utilizes our auditory senses to develop an abstract architectural space that depicts our understanding of emotions in music. "The Introvert" evokes various memories and emotions, particularly the film "Manchester by the Sea," which centers around the themes of depression, grief, guilt, and healing. The plot follows a man who was accidentally responsible for the deaths of his children, struggled with such complicated negative emotions, and tried his best to move on. This presents many similar emotions to those we feel from "The Introvert." Both works convey the complexity of human emotions and the diversity of expressions. In response to the music piece, the site is located in Manchester by the Sea, Boston, one of the settings for the film. We hope that people who are currently in a negative mood, like the leading character in the film, can find more courage and overcome it after visiting this architecture.

During the process of audio analysis, the music piece was divided into six bands, each resonating with the emotions of the main character's particular experiences in the film. These emotions include numbness, apprehension, frustration, hopefulness, looseness, and sorrow. To further understand the emotions in the music, we also restructured the audio according to the intensity of the emotions and assigned colors to each emotion, ranging from white for numbness with zero intensity to crimson for sorrow with the highest intensity. The mood scale will be an important tool for audio visualization in the following steps.

The audio was transformed into a 3D emotional space cube using the audio visualization module in Grasshopper, where the emotional intensity of the audio was represented by the height of the cube. After spreading the resulting six-sided 3D cube into a 2D plane, we explored the possibilities of space organization and circulation. We then selected one of the 2D unfolding diagrams, reorganized the modeling based on the main path and distribution, and set up the game experience to complete different routes leading to changes in mood.

Visitors can experience various emotional changes in different spaces following the roaming path we designed and benefit from the healing effects. For example, people who walk from the straight and open walkway into the cozy curtain installation (the "hopeful" zone) can enjoy the beauty of light and shadow and a relaxing atmosphere. Then, moving into the narrow semi-open space with a two-meter-high rectangular array (the "numb" zone), they can feel the serenity of order. After walking through the sunken tunnel on the far north side and standing in front of the towering tower (the "sorrowful" and "frustrated" zone), visitors can touch the deepest emotions of the soul.

The project provides everyone with a unique journey to delve into their moods and seek their own final choices - whether to move on, to survive, or to stop there. Through audio visualization, we explore the connections between music, emotions, and architectural space. Every architectural space in this project exhibits its own emotion, creating diverse and powerful atmospheres. Visitors can immerse themselves in experiencing different levels of emotional changes and gain the healing benefits as well.

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