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Music Aes. Space

Kevin Matsuoka

Margarita Hill

March 2021

This project focuses on the development of a design theory, Music Aes. Space, that provides landscape architects a guide to objectively translate music to the landscape. We have all seen murals of famous musicians or subjective art pieces inspired by music, but the magnitude of impact that music has on our culture calls for further experimentation. This theory introduces a way to precisely demonstrate the structural elements of music (form, rhythm, tension, flow, etc.) in physical form, giving users an opportunity to see and move through music. Music Aes. Space is applied to San Francisco’s McLaren Park in order to demonstrate the area’s underrepresented rich musical history and cultural significance.


Music, visual art, and dancing share a cognitive language of physics -an innate understanding of aesthetic expression. Therefore music can be understood in a physical form when mathematical conversions are made to the known objective elements. By doing so, music can be demonstrated through the landscape in an effective manor, catering to visual and motor modalities of comprehension.

Site Analysis

San Francisco’s rich musical history and cultural affiliation makes it a prime candidate for the application of this theory. The city’s second largest park, McLaren Park, is noted by the general plan as underutilized and in need of renovation. Analysis has led to the repurposing of a 42’ wide road that loops within the park as a means of eliminating safety issues and enhancing the park with a program of cultural representation and educational recreation.


Three songs from local artists of various genres are selected for their affiliated countercultural movements: Take 5 by The Dave Brubeck Quartet(Jazz), Scarlet Begonias by Grateful Dead(Acid Rock), and California Über Alles by Dead Kennedys(Hardcore Punk). The songs are demonstrated in chronological order of their associated era, utilizing the footprint of the existing road for a spacious pedestrian trail accompanied with a two way bike lane.



I have always had a passion for music, whether its listening or creating. When I was young, my mom would often play The Beatles, Enya, and Elton John on the car ride to piano lessons. As I grew older, I became addicted to producing music on my laptop which eventually led to picking up the guitar. Even though its unconventional, it was obvious to try and involve music with my senior capstone project. Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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