Designing Sonic Environments.
The Actuality of Bauhaus Concepts for Sound Design and Auditive Architecture

International conference

Weimar, Goethe National Museum, 20th and 21st September 2019

Organisation: Prof. Dr. Martin Pfleiderer, Dr. Fabian Czolbe,
Department for Musicology Weimar-Jena,
Music University Franz Liszt Weimar

The design of sounds and soundscapes has increasingly become the focus of architects and urban planners, audio designers and music producers as well as historical and cultural research in recent decades. New fields of research and practice have emerged, including the history of sounds and sound technologies, urban and rural soundscapes and their sound ecology, the auditory design of everyday living spaces and consumer products, and the artistic design of sound in film, music and art.

Even though the leading figures of the Bauhaus have only indirectly dealt with questions of a sound design of spaces and consumer products in everyday life, their approaches and concepts seem to shine through in these fields of research and practice until today. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus in Weimar, the interdisciplinary conference sets itself the task of questioning the Bauhaus concepts of architecture, desig and layout with regard to their significance for current developments in auditory interior design and architecture, audio design, music production and sound art.


Thursday, September 19th, 18:00-20:00
Acoustic Room Diagonals. An artistic intervention – Kirsten Reese, Berlin
Abstract and biography
Ear and auditory sense are the basis of our spatial orientation. While this was of existential importance at the beginning of humanity, when it indicated the distance from dangers or hinted at hardly recognizable spatial constitutions, in the age of the Anthropocene it became more and more a designed, even functionalized environment. In her works, the composer and sound artist Kirsten Reese repeatedly deals with questions about the changed perception of space through sound. How does sound influence spatial perception, or how can a room be acoustically designed? How does the interaction of hearing, seeing and moving shape the concrete sensual experience? Since these questions will not only be discussed within framework of the conference, the intervention of Kisten Reese will take us to the site of the founding of the Bauhaus, the art school building and the present main university building (Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 8), where we will be able to experience designed sound worlds in space-specific contexts. For example, the staircase and corridor in the main building with their visual and spatial dynamics are confronted with new sounds. The visitor moves through the special architectural environment with mobile loudspeakers and encounters sound landscapes that pick up on spatial dynamics, carry them further or question them in a contrasting way. The listener himself becomes a designer by moving the sounds arranged and composed by the artist through the rooms. The listeners will be equipped with portable loudspeakers and follow a choreography that creates different soundscapes in the architectural space. Recordings of the outside world meet composed sequences and thus carry acoustic outdoor spaces into the interior. Both illuminate the architecture in acoustically different ways. The questions about the possibilities and consequences of sound design in specific places are thus carried from scientific reflection into sensual experience. It was already clear to the actors at the Bauhaus 100 years ago that space and sound enter into exciting and creative interactions. As part of the Bauhaus anniversary, the work of Kirsten Reese accompanying our conference shows how this interaction can be formed today. The sound intervention will open the conference (Thursday, 6 p.m.) and will be open to all those interested in an independent exploration on Friday evening (6 p.m. – 8 p.m.) and Saturday afternoon (2 p.m.-4 p.m.).

Kirsten Reese studied flute, electronic music and composition in Berlin and New York. A prominent role in her compositions for electronic media and instruments as well as intermedial installations is played by spatial and perceptual as well as performative and narrative aspects. Compositions for landscapes and the urban exterior form a focal point of her work, she works as well with documentary or archive material, or addresses the historicity of media instruments. She received numerous scholarships and prizes and was invited to perform at various international festivals (Eclat, Wien modern, Heroines of Sound, Kunstfest Weimar, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik, etc.). Kirsten Reese teaches electroacoustic composition at the UdK Berlin.

Stairwell, main building Bauhaus University, Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 8, D-99423 Weimar

Further opening hours:
Friday, September 20th, 18:00-20:00
Saturday, September 21st, 14:00-16:00

Conference schedule

Friday, September 20th, 2019

9:00-9:30 | Martin Pfleiderer, Fabian Czolbe, Weimar

Fabian Czolbe (*1981) is a musicologist and wrote his doctoral thesis on aspects of notational iconicity in compositional sketches of the 20th century. He is currently a research assistant at the Institute of Musicology Weimar-Jena (Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt Weimar), has taught in Berlin and Oldenburg, works as a freelance music journalist/criticist, as a dramaturge in music theatre productions as well as diverse concert formats, and developed music mediation concepts for museums and various concert formats. Research focuses on music and music theatre of the 20th/21st century, experimental/improvised music, instrumental theatre, sound art/sound performance, aesthetics, notation, and the creative process in music.


Martin Pfleiderer (born 1967) studied musicology, philosophy and sociology at Giessen University (1988–93), where he received a doctorate in 1998. From 1999–2005, he was assistant professor for systematic musicology at Hamburg University. After his postdoctoral lecture qualification (2006) and several guest lectures, he has been professor for the history of jazz and popular music at University of Music Franz Liszt Weimar (since 2009). His research is focused on the history, analysis and aesthetics of jazz and popular music (in particular in regard to rhythm, singing and improvisation), on the sociology of music and on computational musicology.

9:30-10:15 | Ita Heinze-Greenberg, Zürich
Architecture, Sound and Rhythm at the Bauhaus
Abstract and biography

On the iconic photo of Hannes Meyer’s „Co-op Interieur“ in 1926, with which the architect presented the living space of the „New World“, a gramophone stands as the most eye-catching object in the center of the picture. With a large funnel on a wooden box, it looks like a late historicist, bourgeois remnant in an otherwise rigorously spartan interior reduced to the bare essentials. A concession to the enjoyment of the „unnecessary“? Hardly. Meyer himself placed the record player together with the folding chair, roll-top desk, light bulb, bath tub among the „apparatus in the mechanization of our daily life“. The gramophone, as the epitome of technically reproducible noises, accustoms „our ears to the sound of impersonal-mechanized rhythms.“ For Meyer, there was only a „gradual difference of oscillatory frequency“ between sound and color; accordingly, he declared the „boundaries between painting, mathematics, and music“ to be abolished.
Beyond the centrally placed gramophone, nothing is known about a decidedly close connection to the audio art of Meyer. In contrast to their Berlin colleague Erich Mendelsohn, for example, for the three Bauhaus directors music played no role as a direct inspiration for the architectural design process. Yet, when Walter Gropius proclaimed the Gesamtkunstwerk in the Manifesto of 1919 in form of a cathedral of the future, the art of sound must have been included in this vision. Although not intended as a subject of its own in the curriculum, it was undoubtedly of central importance for the holistic theory of Gestaltung at the Bauhaus.
Beyond the occupation with synaesthesia pursued by the painter trio Klee, Kandinsky, Feininger, the rhythmic education of Gertrud Grunow, Oskar Schlemmer’s stage works as well as Laszlo Moholy-Nagy’s designs for a total theatre promise new insights into the relation between sound and space as well as between movement and rhythm, explored and implemented at the Bauhaus. Finally, the lecture will address questions about whether sound perception in/of spaces has been taken into account at the Bauhaus, or to what extent aspects of rhythmization informed the architectural designs up to the organization of construction sites as industrial pulsing lines.


Ita Heinze-Greenberg, PhD, is an architectural historian whose research addresses architectural history of the 19th and 20th century with foci on migration and exile studies, nation building and identity construction; she held teaching and research positions at various institutions in Germany, Israel, the Netherlands and Austria; in 2016 she earned a titular professorship for the History of Modern Architecture at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta) at ETH Zürich, Switzerland, where she is also responsible for the coordination of the gta doctoral program. Her latest publication is Die Europäische Mittelmeerakademie. Hendricus Th. Wijdeveld, Erich Mendelsohn und das Kunstschulprojekt an der Côte d’Azur (Zurich 2019).


10:15-11:00 | Brigitte Schulte-Fortkamp, André Fiebig, Berlin
„Klangwelten”. Intervention and new findings through soundscape
Abstract and biography

When we talk about “Klangwelten”, there is the clear understanding of a perception-based construct in Soundscape. Soundscape is defined through its holistic conceptualization – referring in particular to the mutual relations between the subjects under scrutiny. Accepting this, the holistic regard of any assessment of an acoustic environment will thus intersect with different disciplines as well as heterogenic fields and expertise. As codified in ISO12913-1 Acoustics – Soundscape – Part 1, “Soundscape is an acoustic environment as perceived or experienced and/or understood by a person or people in context”. Any assessment of sound must first go through perception-based analyses, after which physical measurements are introduced. The meaning of sound is always related to the inner and outer context of the person under scrutiny, the full investigation of which requires an understanding of cognitive impacts on sound perception. These kinds of evaluations are based on perceptual effects, which are understood as key elements in Soundscape. During the last two decades, Soundscape research was impacted enormously by the process of distinguishing the contextual environment with respect to physical and acoustic aspects. The Soundscape approach is now even better equipped to raise the awareness of politicians and practitioners, especially in regard to urban planning. Soundscape signals a paradigm shift in the evaluation of acoustic environments through participation of the people concerned as well as the greater inclusion of stakeholders. Soundscape can provide a platform for communication and innovation to guarantee co-creation between policy makers and impacted populations. Soundscape as a whole provides the methodologies to understand people, environment, and context while aiming to increase the quality of life for all.


Brigitte Schulte-Fortkamp is a Professor (retired) of Psychoacoustics and Noise Effects at the Technische Universität Berlin, Germany. She is a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America and she was for many years Associate Editor in Noise of the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. Among others, she served from 2011-2012 as Vice President of the Acoustical Society of America. She is Vice-President of the European Acoustics Association (EAA) and a member of the board of the German Acoustical Society (DEGA). In 2010, she was awarded with the Hear the World Foundation award and in 2012 she was the recipient of the European Soundscape Award. Among more than 200 publications she edited in 2016 together with Prof. Jian Kang (London) the book “Soundscape and the built environment”.


André Fiebig studied at the Technical University of Berlin and also earned his PhD in Berlin in the scope of acoustics and psychoacoustics. He worked from to 2005 to 2018 for the HEAD acoustics GmbH in Herzogenrath on different topics related to acoustics, psychoacoustics and product sound quality and led a working group concerned with the “Perception and Assessment of Sounds NVH”.
Since January 2019 he is a visiting professor in the Institute of Fluid Dynamics and Technical Acoustics at the Technical University of Berlin teaching psychoacoustics. Since 2016 he chairs the technical committee on “Noise: Effects and protection” in the German Acoustical Society (DEGA). Moreover, he is on the editorial board of the „Akustik Journal“ published by the DEGA. He also co-chairs the technical committee on Noise in the European Acoustics Association. Moreover, he is a Director at Large at International INCE. He is active in different working groups related to national and international standardization and is recently project leader of the ISO/TS 12913-3 on soundscape.
His special research interest lies in the field of the diverse noise effects on humans with special emphasis on soundscape, psychoacoustics and cognitive stimulus integration of streams of auditory sensations.

coffee break

11:30-12:15 | Thomas Kusitzky, Berlin
Designing Urban Sound
Abstract and biography

Under the signs of a social and technical change, in the early 20th century the idea of Bauhaus was to rethink and reinvent design and design processes. With progressive approaches to teaching, aesthetics and social aspects, the Bauhaus is still shaping today. However, one aspect remained largely unnoticed: the sound. But its consideration is increasingly urgent, especially in the wake of current upheavals in mobility, in urban cohabitation and in technology. Electric vehicles and alternative traffic concepts will massively change the audible urban environment in the coming years. The density of the cities through an uninterrupted influx into the metropolises, the ongoing trend towards a mix of uses and new forms of living together, which are due not least to demographic change, lead to challenging situations regarding the sound that need to be mastered. The digital revolution also brings changes to be considered. So affects e.g. digital, mobile technology, the way people speak in public, the character and frequency of acoustic signals, and in general the possibilities of sound reproduction.
Although the sound played no role at the Bauhaus – apart from purely musical experiments – its comprehensive approach to design and the willingness to break new ground can serve as inspiration and orientation for an urban sound design. Based on the realization of the urgency to take into account the auditory dimension in urban planning and development processes, Kusitzky’s talk shows what are the necessary prerequisites and essential characteristics of urban sound design in order to consider what can be learned from the Bauhaus in this regard.


Thomas Kusitzky is a scholar and consultant who specializes in processes of urban sound design. At the Berlin University of the Arts, he has overseen numerous research projects and has taught several courses. In 2019 he completed his PhD project „Stadtklanggestaltung“ at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. Kusitzky studied music at the Hanns Eisler School of Music and Sound Studies at the Berlin University of the Arts.

12:15-13:00 | Jürgen Strauss, Bern
Architecture and Acoustic Design
Abstract and biography

„Architecture and Acoustic Design“ outlines a work, research and teaching area that is still not discussed enough either in the theory of architecture nor as musical acoustics in the field of music theory.My contibution, originating from the art theory-relevant debate on Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s distinction of performing arts as spatial arts, and literature as well as music as the art of time in the Laocoon, will questioning that suggested aesthetic and technical disconnectedness. This conception of apparent disconnectedness is neither based on perceptual aspects nor in the history of architecture. Therfore, I will on the basis of selected texts and pictures present and discuss particular buildings for music and language like Chrysipp’s Cistern (sound wave and water surface wave), Vitruvian Theater (acoustic reflection, vibration and resonance), Leonardo da Vinci’s Loco dove si predica / Loco per uldire messa, Athanasius Kircher’s San Pietro and San Giacomo (beam geometry, echo), Bachchurch Arnstadt (room acoustics: musical performance practice and intelligibility of language), Festspielhaus Bayreuth (opera, festival, cinema), MOMA Warsaw (a acustically beautiful plan corpse), or MPI EAE ARTLAB (research concert hall and sound design – architecture and digital fabrication) that still reflect the acoustic design in architecture.


„Architecture and Acoustic Design“ outlines a work, research and teaching area that is still not discussed enough either in the theory of architecture nor as musical acoustics in the field of music theory.My contibution, originating from the art theory-relevant debate on Gotthold Ephraim Lessing’s distinction of performing arts as spatial arts, and literature as well as music as the art of time in the Laocoon, will questioning that suggested aesthetic and technical disconnectedness. This conception of apparent disconnectedness is neither based on perceptual aspects nor in the history of architecture. Therfore, I will on the basis of selected texts and pictures present and discuss particular buildings for music and language like Chrysipp’s Cistern (sound wave and water surface wave), Vitruvian Theater (acoustic reflection, vibration and resonance), Leonardo da Vinci’s Loco dove si predica / Loco per uldire messa, Athanasius Kircher’s San Pietro and San Giacomo (beam geometry, echo), Bachchurch Arnstadt (room acoustics: musical performance practice and intelligibility of language), Festspielhaus Bayreuth (opera, festival, cinema), MOMA Warsaw (a acustically beautiful plan corpse), or MPI EAE ARTLAB (research concert hall and sound design – architecture and digital fabrication) that still reflect the acoustic design in architecture.

lunch break

14:30-15:15 | Carolin Höfler, Köln
Infinite Games. From Mechanical Stage Experiments to Interactive Live Simulations
Abstract and biography

The talk deals with game forms based upon the conscious/unconscious human and mechanical production of sounds, colors, shapes, and sensations. The scope ranges from experiments on the Bauhaus stage up to computer-generated environments of contemporary media artists and game developers. Game processes easily generate the notion that it is possible to monitor and regulate environments and individual perceptions. It is in particular this expectation of controlling outer and inner spaces that makes it imperative to reflect on the socio-political correlations of these developments. The ideological framework for this was provided by Walter Gropius, for example, who in 1925 called for a de-personalization of creative processes and thus at the same time postulated the formation of a new man for a new society: »Overcoming the self needs to be the first step in the design process in order to make sure that the shape gains more than just personal relevance«. It is this Nietzschean thinking in the age of industrial mass production that not only the »neue Bau-Gesinnung« (new attitude towards building), but also the »neue Ton-Gesinnung« (new attitude towards sound) should follow. Mechanical stage works, sound apparatus or gramophone experiments (by means of scratching vinyl record surfaces at certain intervals) were from then on subject of discussion. All these attempts clearly demonstrated the demand for a fully controlled organization of form and movement. Using generative production techniques was intended to reduce the presence of the composing designer and to accomplish a new order of sound. The effects of these theoretical settings can be identified in John Cage’s compositions of random noises as well as in Iannis Xenakis‘ calculations at the interface of music, architecture, and mathematics. Both Cage and Xenakis resigned from using a regulating power as one single steering unit. It is with this aim in view that also the computer-generated game worlds of Ed Atkins, Ian Cheng, or David OReilly refer to the Bauhaus and the approaches of the 1950s and 1960s. Their works include real-time simulations which are steered by a sequence of interconnected systems inspired by musical compositions processes. Learning algorithms ensure a constant variation of images and sounds with the respective figures never acting in the same way. Caught in a never-ending live loop – lacking a narrative structure and a fixed end – the user eventually puts aside the controlling device with the game then being played by itself. Such artificial worlds, which can exist without perceivers, are both critical and thrilling. Thus, it appears to be even more necessary to reflect on them in the context of the theatrical-musical experiments between the 1920s and the 1970s which, for different reasons, at the time addressed themselves to new media: whether with the aim of objectifying design processes, democratizing its reception, or widening its range of form.


Dr. Carolin Höfler is Professor of Design Theory and Research at TH Köln – University of Applied Sciences, KISD – Köln International School of Design, where she heads the research unit »Real-Time City«. She studied art history, modern German literature, and theater & film (M. A.) as well as architecture (TU Diploma) at universities in Cologne, Vienna, and Berlin. In her dissertation, which was completed at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, she explored the history and theory of computational design in architecture (Form und Zeit. Computerbasiertes Entwerfen in der Architektur). Until 2013, she was a teacher and researcher at Technische Universität Braunschweig, Institute of Media and Design. In collaboration with »oza _studio for architecture and scenography« she organized exhibitions and participations in exhibitions in Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn, Deutsche Kinemathek and Topography of Terror Documentation Center in Berlin. Her research interests include practices, concepts and media in architecture and design, architectural imagery, media saturation of public space, and ephemeral urbanism.

15:15-16:00 | Hannes Raffaseder, St. Pölten
Audiodesign. A Holistic Approach for Sonic Design Processes in Business, Society and Art
Abstract and biography

Audiodesign aims at the design of listening experiences. Therefore, the individual listeners, with their different listening experiences and subjective sensitivities, must be at the center of all considerations and thus form both the starting point and the end point of audio-design processes. The biggest challenge is the so-called semantic gap between the technically measurable acoustic signal and the auditory event to be perceived by a human listener at a singular moment. To bridge this semantic gap, the different levels of acoustic perception as well as several layers of effect and meaning of sonic events play an important role. In addition, the context in which acoustic events are heard must be taken into account. Therefore, audio design is less concerned with shaping isolated sound events by porposeful influencing individual technically measurable parameters. Rather, Audiodesign first analyzes the properties and effects of the entire acoustic environment, which is composed of a multitude of mutually strongly influencing acoustic events. In addition, different interactions of the acoustic perception with other sensory stimuli and diverse contextual influencing factors have to be considered. Therefore, holistic concepts are required for the design of listening experiences, which gradually approach the defined design goals in cyclic design processes that have been carried out several times.
Visual sensory stimuli provide very precise information, especially about the surfaces of static objects. Transient acoustic events, on the other hand, are always a consequence of dynamic changes whose properties are reflected in the resulting sounds and noises, as well as the material nature of the objects involved in the triggering processes. For this reason, listening experiences provide a variety of conclusions about the quality of dynamic processes and the objects involved, which is why Audiodesign is slowly but steadily gaining in importance in business and society.
The presentation first goes into the theoretical basics of audiodesign and further explains practical application scenarios in business, society and art based on case studies.


Hannes Raffaseder is internationally active as a composer and media artist. He was curator of the Klangturm St. Pölten and co-organizer of the Composer Forum Mittersill and the record label einklang-records. Since 2004, Raffaseder has been teaching and researching at St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences. His research has dealt with specific characteristics of sonic perception as well as functions, effects and meanings of sound in the media. The second edition of his textbook Audiodesign was published by Hanser in 2010. Since 2010, Raffaseder has been involved in various areas of higher education development. Currently he is responsible for research, knowledge transfer and internationalization, as a member of the management board.

coffee break

16:30-17:15 | Thomas Görne, Hamburg
On the thingness of sound and the interdependencies of visual and auditory objects. Sound design in film
Abstract and biography

The invention of the sound film in the late 1920’s transforms the visual medium, typically accompanied by music, into a true audio-visual medium – even though in the first decades of the new medium the sound production was stuck in the aesthetic tradition of the silent movie (hence the term „talkie“).
But sound has the power to open the filmic world beyond the visible, to communicate things beyond the frame of the picture. Balász indicates in 1949 a fundamental creative potential of sound film: „hearing space without having to see it“. Sound can evoke space: expicitly through objects spanning a physical space, implicitly through reflections from room boundaries, perceived as architectural space. Metaphorically through the spatial metaphors of height, depth, size, volume. Furthermore, sound can create atmospheres, in terms of Böhme, and it can render the filmic world meaningful through the auditory objects populating this world.
The lecture investigates options of communicating with sound in the audiovisual medium, starting with the thingness of perceived sound through the metaphors of perception to the interdependencies of image and sound.


After graduating in Electrical Engineering with a major in Acoustics, Thomas Görne started working as a freelance engineer in film post production, while at the same time he was a research assistant in various research projects, in particular at Potsdam University in the field of Music Acoustics.
From 2004-2008, he was appointed to a professorship at Detmold University of Music in Detmold’s Tonmeister education.
Since 2008 he is Professor at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW Hamburg) and head of the Sound Lab. Since 2015 he is organizing the annual symposium on sound art and audio technology „klingt gut“.
He is author of several textbooks, including „Mikrofone – Theorie und Praxis“ (Elektor 1994/2007), „Tontechnik“ („Sound Engineering“, Hanser 2006) and „Sounddesign – Klang, Wahrnehmung, Emotion“ („Sound, Perception, Emotion“, Hanser 2017).


17:15-18:00 | Immanuel Brockhaus, Bern
Cult sounds. The sound and design architecture of the DX 7 Synthesizer

18:00-19:00 DX 7 – praktische Erkundungen am Gerät

Abstract and biography

Not only the new sound of the Yamaha DX 7 synthesizer, released in 1983, but also the futuristic reduced user design are still regarded as a milestone in instrument development.
This article traces the footsteps of composer John Chowning and corporate giant Yamaha. Chowning invented FM synthesis as early as the mid-1960s, but only in the late 1970s, however, was developed via detours with the license acquirer Yamaha a product that enriched the keyboard world with an innovative instrument.
The DX 7 was sold smart, but discussed controversial. The often perceived as sterile sound and the complicated programming led to lively discussions. Based on set algorithms, the user had to struggle through complicated menus and the profession of sound designer, who supplied presets for the DX, flourished.
Nevertheless, the electric piano sound of the DX 7 became the cult sound of the 1980s that dominated the charts. Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Chicago, and many other artists quickly recognized the commercial factor of that individual timbre and placed it as a signature sound in every second pop ballad. But other sounds, especially the hard, metallic basses found favor with synthpop bands. The DX 7 was state of the art at that time and was part of every stage and studio equipment. The design of the first models was followed by a large product line with drum machines and sound modules, which brought Yamaha much success.
Is it possible to compare the development of the DX 7 with the structures of the Bauhaus? How did the actors work in the creation of the device? Which networks were created?
Subsequent to the review, you will have the opportunity to test some original DX 7 series instruments.

Publication: Kultsounds – Die prägendsten Klänge der Popmusik 1960-2014, transcript 2017


Immanuel Brockhaus (Dr.phil.) Is a German jazz musician, composer, music educator and scholar at the Bern University of the Arts. In 2010 he published „Inside The Cut“ (Transcript) a research contribution to the topic of digital editing techniques in popular music. His dissertation „Kultsounds – Investigation into the Origin, Practice and Effect of Dominant individual Sounds in Popular Music 1960-2014, supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation, is currently being continued in a planned international touring exhibition.


Saturday, September 21st, 2019

9:00-9:45 | Natascha Meuser, Dessau/Berlin
A New Approach to Teaching Architecture. Crime Stories from a Bauhaus Housing Estate
Abstract and biography

Images are the best tool for teaching architecture. If the features of a space or scenery engage our senses, they facilitate a deeper understanding. Every space is full of details that captivate the mind’s eye and leave lasting impressions. During this conference, I will present a research project which I conducted with my students to explore a narrative approach to architectural learning. Students describe architecture from a completely new perspective. They peek behind the innocent-seeming white facades of the world-famous Bauhaus housing estate in Dessau and invent whimsical stories of mysterious entanglements, dark secrets, and sinister malefactions. The crime stories show the Törten estate, designed by Walter Gropius between 1926 and 1928, in a completely new light. The reader learns about the historical background of the estate and pursues the perpetrators through the terraced houses, accompanied by photographic illustrations.
The focus of the degree in interior planning is to adopt and further investigate the architectural principles that lie at the heart of the Bauhaus. Walter Gropius had developed his teaching principles already in 1922, even before architecture was officially offered as a degree programme. In my teaching, I seek to define a new frame of reference for architectural education. It has been 100 years since the founding of the Bauhaus. And it falls upon us to question what remains of this architectural moment, and what impulses it might still provide today for the architecture of tomorrow. How do we wish to live in the future? In order to bring Gropius’s teachings into the twenty-first century, we must adapt them to contemporary conditions. Three factors have radically changed our lives in the last 20 years: globalisation, digitalisation, and the need to conserve our limited resources. This is why I aim to teach my students five general but clearly defined competencies: drawing, perceiving, preserving, evaluating, and marketing. Students practise these competencies in the contexts of design and staging, construction and technology, and theory and history.


Born in 1967. Professor for interior planning at the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences in Dessau. Studied in Rosenheim and at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Obtained PhD at the Technische Universität Berlin. Numerous publications in the fields of visual presentation methods, educational buildings, and the history of architecture and zoology.


9:45-10:30 | Caroline Fuchs, München
Sound worlds of design. A museum app opens up the sound of design objects
Abstract and biography

The sounds of design objects are often as characteristic as their shape. Based on this premise, Die Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum has developed an app that makes the sounds of objects from the exhibition available to visitors. As a design museum that is dedicated to modernism and has a collection focus on product and industrial design, Die Neue Sammlung is thus devoting itself to the exploration of the acoustic properties of its objects. At, up to 5 noises can be retrieved for a total of 49 objects. Sound collages of individual decades simulate the sound worlds that shaped the everyday life of the respective time. The lecture will provide insights into the development and experiences with the app as well as the conclusions the museum has drawn from its examination of the sounds of its objects.


Dr. Caroline Fuchs studied art history and classical archaeology in Tübingen, Manchester and Berlin. After a doctorate with a thesis on early colour photography and positions at the Universities of Vienna and Zurich, she has been a curator at the Neue Sammlung – The Design Museum in the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich since 2017.


coffee break

11:00-11:45 | Holger Schulze, Kopenhagen
Sonic Labor. Aspects of a Cultural Theory of Sound Design
Abstract and biography

Sound design of the 21st century is the result of freelance work by Prosumers (Toffler). They form a sonic workforce that produces under a double pressure: on the one hand sound designers are subject to the requirements of habitus and self-exploitation as is expected in the so-called „creative industries“ – on the other hand sound desigenrs are understood as service providers for a surveillance society that is becoming more and more established in all areas of life. Sonic Labor invents and assembles the sound design that accompanies its users in public transport, at ATMs, at work and study places, in medical care and close to every single one of the many daily acts of consumption. In this presentation, the factual working conditions under the conditions of Sonic Labor are presented on the one hand by means of various case studies – and on the other hand this presentation proposes interpretations for how to understand the entanglement of sound design in social contexts and political developments of the present and the near future.


Holger Schulze is full professor in musicology at the University of Copenhagen and principal investigator at the Sound Studies Lab. He serves as curator for the Haus der Kulturen der Welt Berlin and founding editor of the book series Sound Studies. His research focuses on the cultural history of the senses, sound in popular culture, the anthropology of media. He was invited visiting professor at the Musashino Art University in Tokyo, at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Book publications: Sound as Popular Culture (2016, ed.), The Sonic Persona (2018), Sound Works (2019).


11:45 | Sound art. Design processes between aesthetics and functionality
Round table with Carolin Höfler (Köln), Robin Minard (Weimar), Kirsten Reese (Berlin), Holger Schulze (Kopenhagen)

Bringing art, craftsmanship and design into a mutually productive relationship was the central concern of Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius. Art achieves its aesthetic effects with strategies that are often borrowed from craftsmanship and functional design, and conversely, craftsmanship and design have an aesthetic dimension that exceeds mere functionality. Sound art often ties in with everyday sound worlds, but reflects and transcends them by aesthetic means and can thus sometimes open up new possibilities for sound design and auditive architecture. The panel discussion asks about this interrelationship between artistic work in sound art and the work of sound designers of different orientations. Which artistic strategies build on functional sound design and how do they lead beyond them? How do artistically designed sound worlds change our perception of the world? Conversely, how can artistic strategies be used by sound designers within processes of designing our everyday world? Finally, the podium is intended to initiate a discourse that, on the one hand, looks for the links to the ideas of Gropius and, on the other hand, shows how basic concepts of the Bauhaus are transferred to sound design in recent times and can possibly shape future design practices.