Sonic Spaces: Design Your Own Venue

Step by step

Part 1  – Explore

TASK 1

Go through the Musical Map of Camden (PDF), making your way from start to finish. As you explore Camden’s important musical places and spaces, keep in mind where you might like to build your own arts and music venue. 

TASK 2

Choose a spot on the Musical Map where you would like to create your own venue. This is completely up to you but have a think about the location, is it near the other music venues or near houses? Is it in the centre of Camden or a bit further out?

TASK 3

Now have a think about what you would like to happen inside your art and music venue. From your exploration around Camden, is there something special this area is missing? Why will this new space be great for Camden?

TASK 4

Who would you want to perform there? What type of music? Who would be your dream musician / artist to perform there?

Part 2: Experiment

Take a listen, what sounds can you hear right now? 

We are constantly hearing different kinds of sounds. But what is sound? Sound is a type of energy made by vibrations. Our ears are specially designed to catch these vibrations, and this is how we hear. But the way we hear sound (and music) depends on the space we are in, as vibrations behave differently in different types of rooms. Building acoustics is the science that studies how sound changes according to qualities of a room.When designing a music venue, we need to think about the acoustics of the space to make sure the audience is hearing the best of the performance. How music sounds is influenced by the shape of the room, as well as the materials inside the room.

TASK 1

Have a go at testing out room acoustics. Sing a song, shout some words, and clap in these two different rooms. How do they sound different? Can you hear any echos? 

1) Living room / room full of soft materials such as carpets or sofas.

2) A room with hard reflective materials, such as a bathroom (try not to scare anyone in a public toilet!)

The bathroom is full of hard surfaces (such as glass, stone or concrete) that reflect sound, and bounce vibrations towards you from lots of different directions. This is useful for music venues, but too many reflective surfaces may cause an echo, which we don’t want! 

On the other hand, the room with soft materials absorbs sound, this is often called a ‘dead’ room. Most modern music venues try to reduce use of soft materials, as it can sound like you in a very small room and the sound is muffled. 

The shape of the room is also important. Many music venues are designed to make the acoustics as good as possible, but some music venues also make the most of lots of different shapes of rooms! 

TASK 2

Here are some examples for you to look at before designing your own music venue:

Part 3: Create

Draw three sketches of your own venue, one of the outside view, one of the inside view, and then the floorplan.

Finally, you should decide on a name for your venue!

Ella Weldon is a Camden-based DJ and Radio host, currently studying an MSc in Migration and Development studies at SOAS university, whose experience spans youth mentorship, women’s development and psychosocial research. 

Rufus Shakespeare is a member of Migrant’s Bureau, facilitating a wide range of design projects surrounding disenfranchised & migrant communities. As a Human Geography graduate, his research and interests range from community and youth engagement in the built environment, to geographies of protest and dissent.

Together, Rufus and Ella organise events for the party collective, Coop Audio, arranging multi-genre, inclusive music events that raise money for local causes.

This is a project that was produced in partnership with Camden Council. With their support, the Open House Families team commissioned Camden-based creatives to produce activities for families to enjoy from home, which all take their inspiration from Camden’s unique architectural characteristics. You can find more events occurring as part of the Open House Families festival here: openhouselondon.open-city.org.uk/collections/7

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