Nadine Schütz

Dr. Sc. ETH Zürich

Sound Architect, Artist, Landscape Acoustics Consultant , ECHORA / IRCAM / ETH Zürich

Paris, France & Zurich, Switzerland


Nadine Schütz is a sound architect, artist and researcher. She explores the auditory environment like an interpreter; by listening to space and place as a creative score that informs and directs its own transformation. Her interventions combine the artistic reading of a site with the concern for augmenting its acoustic comfort and identity. Through an original combination of techniques derived from bio- and psychoacoustics, music and landscape architecture, she creates urban sound installations and acoustic designs that participate tangibly in users' daily experiences. Nadine Schütz holds a PhD in landscape acoustics from ETH Zurich, where she installed a new studio for the spatial simulation of sonic landscapes. She is a guest composer at IRCAM-STMS in Paris and lectures on Landscape Acoustics at ETH Zurich.

Sharing (Sound) Space

Sounds are an expression of life and bear spatial diversity and belonging. The paradigms driving the prevailing acoustic measures in today's planning practice – silence and control, achieved through spatial separation and isolation – are often antithetical to those urban attributes. My work involves designing urban sound experiences beyond noise and silence. So what then could be a human auditory desire if it does not pertain solely to silence and quiet? And what design opportunities can we open up if we consider sound, instead of reducing it to 'noise', with its multi-dimensional acoustic characteristics to create, use and share (auditory) space more efficiently and joyfully?

I currently work on several projects where I test new technical and artistic approaches that could also be implemented in user conflicts in urban nightlife zones. The basis of acoustic space management is the arrangement of different uses, urban morphology, the 'natural' orchestration of space using plants, and so on. However, in dense urban zones, we do not always have the necessary spatial extent or interactivity at hand to act with so-called 'passive' acoustics only. That's where electroacoustic devices come into play. These 'devices' are typically integrated into urban equipment, particularly lighting poles or benches. They act in the spectral domain of sound, use masking effects, or address a behavioural level, interacting in real-time, through sensors, with the surrounding urban situation.