This experiment at the intersection of urbanism and experimental music takes inspiration from graphic scores in music as dynamic forms that could offer new ways of notating the relationship between design ideas, built form, and social life: in other words, between scoring and performing urban space. Throughout 2019 we hosted four workshops in very different cities with common challenges: London and Paris, two global cities needing to create flexible space to accommodate rapid economic and socio-cultural change; and Belfast and Beirut, cities marked by conflict needing to find common spaces across sectarian divides. The workshops invited architects and composers to explore a site, share their observations, and create scores that challenge the static nature of the architectural blueprint.
The project was conceived and led jointly by Gascia Ouzounian (University of Oxford / Recomposing the City) and John Bingham-Hall (Theatrum Mundi) with research and coordination support from Fani Kostourou (Theatrum Mundi) and Conor McCafferty (Queen‘s University Belfast). It is funded by The Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities, and was supported in kind by London College of Communication, Plateau Urbain, and Belfast Harbour Commissioners.
Scoring the City follows previous collaborations between Theatrum Mundi and Recomposing the City: the Acoustic Cities Study Day, the Beirut-London exchange workshop Urban Soundscape and the Politics of Memory, and a subsequent edition published by Optophono, Acoustic Cities: London & Beirut.
Gascia is Associate Professor of Music at the University of Oxford, where she leads the project ‘Sonorous Cities: Towards a Sonic Urbanism’ (2020-2025). She is co-director of the research group Recomposing the City and artistic director of the record label Optophono. Gascia’s writing is focused on the relationship between sound and space, urban sound, and experimental music and sound art. She is the author of Stereophonica: Sound and Space in Science, Technology, and the Arts (MIT Press).
John is Director of the charitable research centre Theatrum Mundi, which aims to expand the practices of city-making through projects linking built environment and artistic disciplines. He has held research posts at LSE Cities and UCL STEaPP and an associate lectureship at CSM. He has a multi-disciplinary academic background, holding a BMus (Music) from Goldsmiths College, and an MSc and PhD (Advanced Architectural Studies) from the Bartlett, UCL. With TM he has led programmes on cultural infrastructure, sonic urbanism, urban commons, and choreographing urban mobility.
Fani is an Associate at Theatrum Mundi leading on Research, Design and Creative Development. Trained as a pianist in Greece, she holds a Diploma in Architecture from NTUA, an MAS in Urban Design from ETHz, as well as an MRes in Spatial Design: Architecture & Cities and a PhD in Architecture and Urban studies from the Bartlett, UCL. She is a Fellow of the UK’s Higher Education Academy and teaches at the UCA Canterbury School of Architecture, the Welsh School of Architecture in Cardiff University and the CANactions School for Urban Studies in Kyiv.
Additional thanks to Joan Baz, Imogen Free, Ciara Hickey, Claire M. Holdsworth, Stéphanie Ghazal-Zahar, Alissa Kleist, Cathy Lane, Sarah Lappin, Katy Long, Lou Marcellin, Victoria McGuinness, Terry McKeown, Charlotte Medland, Laura Morrison, Matt Parker, Emma Stockford, Laura Tunbridge, Wes Williams, Barbara Zweifel.
Website design: Ryan O’Reilly, Rinky Design
This project is carried out through a Knowledge Exchange Fellowship awarded by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH). The fellowship, held by Professor Ouzounian, provided the opportunity for a year-long collaboration with Theatrum Mundi, which co-funded the project.