Monday, December 6, 2010
CultureLab: How an architect took music back to mathematical roots: Xenakis's breakthroughs in music and architecture were deeply intertwined. Asked by Le Corbusier to design a pavilion commissioned by the Dutch Philips Corporation for the 1958 World's Fair, Xenakis began by considering the internal acoustics, and realised that the optimal design would be based on hyperbolic paraboloids. It was the first building of its kind and, supported from within by long stretches of cable, the saddle-shaped structure drew crowds as well as critical acclaim for Le Corbusier, who neglected to give Xenakis credit. Xenakis protested and was fired - but by then his name was increasingly known throughout Paris for his application of hyperbolic paraboloids to music.