International workshop, 3-4 November 2015,

Musée du quai Branly, Salle de cinéma

Worship Sound Spaces

International workshop, 3-4 November 2015, Musée du quai Branly, Salle de cinéma

The aim of this workshop is to explore, with a trans-disciplinary perspective, the various sonic issues project managers encounter when building or rehabilitating worship spaces in different cultural contexts. Building or rehabilitating such spaces should not only answer to requirements dictated by the building but should also take into account the practices, perceptions and expectations of the various actors and users of those spaces (religious officiants and practitioners, etc.).

The colloquium will be structured around three issues:

  • The first part will be devoted to ritual action as a “sensory experience”. This theme will address the effects perceived in rooms, such as reverberation, or the intelligibility of speech, and the influence of these effects on the multisensory experience of the participants, without neglecting the sense of silence (or conversely saturation) in such places.
  • The second part will address the worship space in terms of “limits and boundaries.” This theme will focus on sound sources and the manner they are perceived both inside the space and outside, considering enclosed, nested, or open spaces. We will examine the scope of sound messages within architectural borders but also beyond the walls.
  • The third part will deal with the theories of the sound between “past and present.” This theme will address the acoustic theories, the collection of initial intentions and sound requirements, which were formed at different times concerning places of worship. This is based on written sources and their interpretations that some contemporary architects and acousticians now seem up to meeting the challenges of preserving or are led to reconstruct from the perspective of the construction of new sites. 

These three themes will be systematically addressed by at least two complementary approaches involving human sciences and engineering sciences. They will be broken down in different cultural contexts with their own meanings.

Keywords: Sound perception, environment, church, mosque, hindu temple, architecture, sound anthropology, acoustic

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