The Bartlett School of Architecture

Miss Emma Kate Matthews

Miss Emma Kate Matthews

Teaching Fellow

The Bartlett School of Architecture

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
28th Sep 2015

Research summary

My research is concerned with discovering & exploiting creative reciprocities between music as constructed sound, & architecture as constructed space. I aim to establish a mode for transdisciplinary practice between the interconnected fields of architecture, acoustical engineering, music composition & performance.

Historically, architectural space has played a highly active role in influencing the experience & composition of music. The Dutch renaissance composer Adrian Willaert is famed for having supposedly invented polychoral, antiphonal music as a response to the spatially-opposed positioning of choir lofts in St Mark’s Basilica in Venice. Conversely, architects & engineers have long acknowledged the desires of music in space. Long before Acoustics was a formally recognised discipline, Roman architect & engineer Vitruvius discusses a method for enhancing the sonic character of theatres & performance spaces by embedding echea or acoustic vases in the walls. Despite these examples, only a small handful of spatiosonic practitioners have managed to rigorously explore interactive parallels between musical space & physical space in their work. American composer Henry Brant produced many spatial compositions, with a view to exploring the idea that aspects of physical space (particularly distance & direction) are as compositionally active as the musical elements of tone & timbre.


Teaching summary

Since September 2016, Emma-Kate has been running a Masters in Architecture design unit with teaching partner Nat Chard (unit 25).

"The core of our unit involves helping each student develop their own experimental practices, both in their approach to design and in the media through which they think and work. In our experience an experimental approach fosters rich design potential while also providing a productive educational method. We value the way that working experimentally through materials and processes can open up possibilities that might elude us when working with more conventional design methods. We encourage speculative risk and not knowing where the idea will end. To operate like this we look for rigour when nurturing the relationship between idea and technique, looking for ways in which each student might develop or invent their own media and be in control of it on their own terms. We are much more interested in the literal and figurative manifestation of the idea than in the diagram." - Nat Chard & Emma-Kate Matthews 2017


London Metropolitan University
Prof. Prac, Architecture | 2013
University College London
Dip., Architecture | 2011
University College London
MArch, Architecture | 2011
University of Nottingham
B.Arch, Architecture | 2008


Emma-Kate is an architect, artist, musician and composer. In 2012 she founded EKM Works; a transdisciplinary creative practice with a focus on experimentation and exploring the boundaries of innovative technologies. Emma-Kate teaches a Masters in Architecture unit at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL where she is also undertaking a design and performance-led PhD, part-funded by the Bartlett staff award bursary. Her research is concerned with discovering and exploiting creative reciprocities between music; as constructed sound, and architecture; as constructed space. She is currently a London Symphony Orchestra Soundhub Associate and is writing a number of site-specific compositions which are directly influenced by the outputs of digital acoustic simulation and 3D scanning. Last year, Emma-Kate’s spatial compositions were performed at the Royal Academy of Arts, Shoreditch Church and the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. She is currently collaborating with the London City Orchestra on a new spatial piece for the Southbank Centre in January. Emma-Kate plays the Clarinet, Drum Kit, Electric Bass and Piano and has released a number of albums, most recently “East of the Active” on Algebra Records. She has previously performed at the Barbican concert hall and the Queen Elizabeth hall. Her Architectural work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts and the RIBA and has also been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals including Architectural Design (Wiley) and Design Ecologies (Intellect books).