Future100: Soundscapes Combat the “Tyranny of the Visual”

Two speculative projects examine how small-scale materials and objects can influence acoustic transmission and the experience of space.

Courtesy Christopher Sweeney

A vocabulary of visual terms—sight lines, daylight, transparency—dominates descriptions of architecture, but spaces can also be experienced using other senses. In these two projects, for example, students combat the “tyranny of the visual” by creating designs defined by sound. One unifying characteristic is an attention to how smaller-scale materials and objects influence acoustic transmission: Christopher Sweeney examines the potential of terra-cotta to “produce a gradient of sounds around campus,” while Hadiya Bynoe-Seabron imagines music from boom boxes intermingling with “stacked and layered hexagonal forms.”

Hadiya Bynoe Seabron Portfolio Metropolis Submission Reduced Page 08
Courtesy Hadiya Bynoe Seabron

Visit metropolismag.com/future100 to see more groundbreaking student work.


Drexel University

Graduate Interior Architecture and Design

NOMINATOR: William Mangold, Program Director

Bynoe-Seabron creates her eclectic interiors by layering a mix of organic and synthetic materials and bringing aspects of the natural world into built environments. Layered surfaces also appear in a design for Shapla Center, a community center for climate-displaced Bengali migrants.


University at Buffalo

Graduate Architecture

NOMINATOR: Elaine Chow, Studio Instructor, Professional Development Coordinator

Many of Sweeney’s projects reflect an attention to immediate context and circulation, evinced in a handful of installations and the open-ended community center Big Porch. Other projects rely on research to respond to broader economic issues, such as a three-tower housing prototype to address affordability.

Sweeney Portfolio Page 09
Courtesy Christopher Sweeney

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