In a 2010 TED Talk on passion and creativity David Byrne draws an interesting connection between architecture and music. Through the ages, he argues, it was the change in architectural style that induced progress in composing music and stimulated the birth of new genres and musical structures. Each new space has different acoustics and therefore needs a different sound. This direct connection between the two arts, which seemingly have nothing in common, made me wonder if this connection works the other way around as well. Has music influenced and inspired the development of architecture in history? We do know that of all the arts, architecture is the one, which develops the slowest, so whenever a new movement in philosophy, painting or music arises, buildings are the last to catch up and therefore receive heavy influences by all other arts. But music… how?
Probably the most fascinating thing about music is its temporality. The art lives in the moment and then its gone. Reproducing it is the way this art breathes and is the only way it can be indulged. It is immaterial, abstract and invisible – as far away as possible from architecture. The art of building on the other hand is exhaustively huge, pre-conditioned by realism and economy and present for a long time, without changing. So what could the connection be?
However, architecture and music do have things in common. Both are carried by their structure, defined by their form and given character by their textures. And both are made, with a lot of inspiration, by humans.
This realization changed the above stated equation and became a sweet reminder of the purpose of being and work. Humans do things for other humans – directly or not. They interact, create their social orders and structures and then organize their entire world around that – their music, their paintings, their architecture. They inspire and they are being inspired.
The connection between architecture and music is people. Maybe the title of this essay should have then also been “For the people”, but then… so is any other essay.
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