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Entries in architecture (21)


Visual Soundscapes

Looking at these images, is there a sound that comes to mind? What do shapes and colors do with that sonic image in your mind? Pablo Padilla Jargstorf, the creator of these Visual Soundscapes, calls them “intuitions of visual sound”. 

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The Organ of Corti

The idea is wonderful: recycling the noises of a busy city and filtering them to create something beautiful, making people aware of the sounds surrounding them, which always is a good thing. That said, I wonder how well it works, especially when the listener is surrounded by noise. 

The Organ of Corti is a sound installation created by Liminal, a partnership between sound artist and composer David Prior and architect Frances Crow. The Organ of Corti won the PRS New Music 2010 Award, and will premiere at the City of London festival, July 2011. 


! at TodaysArt Festival

This weekend I visited the TodaysArt festival in The Hague. The festival explores the newest forms of art, music and technology. After having some fun with RovoVox, a giant 8 meter tall robot that will speak any text you send via SMS, I entered the impressive Atrium, The Hague’s city hall to be surprised by !

! is an installation by sound artist and researcher Anke Eckardt, which explores her theory of ‘vertical hearing’. Every three minutes a sound comes from above and ‘drops’ into a puddle of black water. It seems like an invisible object causes the splash, yet it must be a huge woofer beneath the surface.

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A Balloon for... a Water Tower

The cities we live in contain many places with marvelous sonic properties, but who is aware of them? Concrete, towers, a hole in the wall. It might just take a little amplification to bring them to life. A popping balloon might also work. 

With A Balloon for… a Water Tower Davide Tidoni shows us the amazing effect the sound of a popping balloon creates in front of the water tower of Santarcangelo. The project invites the average passers-by to listen a bit more careful to the world around them. Watch the movie and listen to the effect:

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Rolex Tower Soundwave Sculpture

For the entrance hall of the Rolex Tower in Dubai, James Clar created the Rolex Tower Soundwave: a massive sculpture resembling a sound wave, made of stainless steel.

The sculpture is like an abstract name tag for the building, as the artist recorded his own voice, saying “Rolex Tower”. The waveform of this recording in 3D form was then used as blueprint for the sculpture. The sculpture blends in very well with the architectural design of the building:

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Sonorous Bench: Sound Art in Public Space

There is a small tunnel underneath the railroad in Amsterdam where sounds similar to dripping water come from the walls. The first time I passed it I did not notice it right away, as the sounds are not very loud. But then I realized the experience of passing through that tunnel was more pleasant than usual. I love these sonic surprises and I wish I would encounter more of them throughout the city. 

This Sonorous Bench created by Clint Davis, Jaime Oliver, Jacob Sudol and Chris Warren, all students at the San Diego’s music department of the University of California, is another great example of sound art in public space. Two transducers emit resonance frequencies of the bench, and make it sing. It is not too loud, just a nice, subtle addition to the urban soundscape. 


The Wave Organ in San Francisco

This is probably a familiar place for the locals, but believe it or not, I had never heard of the Wave Organ in San Francisco before. The concept of this acoustic sculpture was developed by Peter Richards, and installed in collaboration with George Gonzales. 

The construction of the Wave Organ was completed in 1986 and treats visitors to sonic surprises ever since. As the water moves in and out of the pipes as the waves hit, wonderful sounds are generated. It is not loud, and to fully enjoy it visitors need to listen actively. 

I think an installation like the Wave Organ demonstrates a great way of creating a sonically pleasant environment by helping nature just a little bit. It subtly adds a sparkle to the sounds of the wind and the waves, which are already beautiful by themselves. 


Sound in Context: Exhibiting Sound Art

When an architect designs a building, or a gallery space gets prepared to exhibit works of art, is the role of sound taken into consideration? What if the art in the exhibition consists of sound installations as opposed to visual arts? In Sound in Context, a short documentary by the Sound and Music organisation, the role of sound within the visual arts world is explored. 

People like David Toop, Richard Whitelaw and Benedict Drew, among others, discuss the invisible nature of this time-based medium we are dealing with here, and how many curators and art experts are not used to it. Another subject they cover is the value of sound art. Can it be sold? In what way? Should an artist give away CDs with recordings of sound installations? A very interesting subject which makes Sound in Context an interesting documentary to watch, apart from the soporific way some of these sound artist tell their story (they are probably not used to be recorded in a visual way).    


Syn Chron

It is not the latest project by Carsten Nicolai, but this site was not around by 2004, so I still want to share this with you, just because it creates such a beautiful image. You will have to imagine the sound. 

Syn Chron is an integral sculpture of light, sound and architecture. The images projected on the surface of the object are synchronized to sound, and the object forms an acoustic resonance body.


Mafoombey acoustic space

A space created solely for listening to and experiencing music and sound, that's what Mafoombey is. The space, created by Martti Kalliala and Esa Ruskeepää is carved out of a pile of cardboard.

The organic shapes invite users to relax and enjoy the sound from the integrated six speaker surround sound system. Aim of the makers was to create the ultimate listening environment, with great acoustics. And it's beautiful, too!