Drawing sounds

P. Nixon, A. Milligan, L. McIntosh, K. Baikie

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingOther chapter contribution


    What new perspectives might sonic thinking bring to design education? In this paper the authors describe a workshop, 'Swapping Senses', supported by practitioners from sonic arts, music/voice and interior architecture, which reinterprets the psychoacoustic dimensions of sound. Recognising that the sonic realm is as important as the visual, the authors describe a process in which the eventual outcome is aural, rather than pictorial. Parallels are drawn with engineering and psychoacoustic aspects of products, and we define architecture as 'product prototype'. The paper offers an alternative and pedagogic counterpoint to data driven metrics and acoustics formulae applied to products and engineering analysis. The workshop allows student teams to experimenting over three weeks with sound in field trips, develop 'aural' observation skills, (an aural eye), and work with sound recording tools and software, (CuBASE). Experimenting with the sonic medium helps students re-assess dependency on visual outputs, develop spatially attuned sonic awareness of place, and extend the visual role of the CAD /IT lab into the territory of soundscapes. This exploration of sound helps students analytical and contextual framing of site, and encourages empathy for the sensory experience of users of design, and illustrates links with multi-modal design, the emerging field of soundscapes, and experience design.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationDS 46: Proceedings of E and PDE 2008, the 10th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education
    EditorsAnna Clarke, Mike Evatt, Peter Hogarth, Joaquim Lloveras, Luis Pons
    PublisherThe Design Society
    Publication statusPublished - 2008
    EventThe 10th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education - Barcelona, Spain
    Duration: 4 Sept 20085 Sept 2008


    ConferenceThe 10th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education
    Abbreviated titleE&PDE 2008
    Internet address


    • Soundscapes
    • Multi modal
    • Sensorial
    • CAD
    • Empathy


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