Looking Outwards: Iannis Xenakis

Iannis Xenakis is a music composer and architect who lived from 1922 to 2001. He was one of the pioneering figures to incorporate mathematical algorithms into his music, with the help of computers. In 1979, he made available a software for interpreting visual images into sounds called Unité Polyagogique Informatique CEMAMu (UPIC).

The idea that patterns in visuals and music can be mapped to one another is an intriguing one. Architects have traditionally used visual design to convey different layers of meaning and experiences, and have been quite effective in doing so. However, there is more room for exploration with regards to designing the sounds in the physical environment. With a greater understanding of sounds and how our mind perceives them, architects can expand their range of design tools and perhaps find some use for sound design, such as in landscapes where minimal visual intervention is preferred.