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It used to be that music was composed for the physical spaces in which it would be performed. Haydn had Esterhazy palace. Bach had St. Thomas Church. For these and other artists, sound and space were inextricably linked; architecture played a vital role in how the music was written and experienced.
Today, music is tailored primarily for digital distribution. There are exceptions, sure (David Byrne, for example, has talked about how architecture shaped his music and that of others), but composing music with a specific venue in mind has become less integral to the creative process. A new venue in Brooklyn wants to revive that lost tradition.
National Sawdust is a new non-profit space in the bustling Williamsburg neighborhood. From the outside, it looks like any other repurposed factory; from the inside, though, National Sawdust looks (and sounds) nothing like your typical music venue. The space is the work of architecture studio Bureau V and engineering firm Arup, and it’s full of design details that are meant to create a hyper-tailored acoustical experience. With bright white walls, strips of light, and angular sound panels, the venue looks like something out of Star Wars, though its acoustical properties are more aligned with those of an 18th century chamber hall. […]