Do you remember putting a shell up to your ear to “listen to the ocean”? What if you could walk into a massive shell and listen to the sounds of space- or rather, a symphony built out of the sounds of satellites in space?
This was what STUDIOKCA proposed when commissioned by NASA to design a traveling pavilion where the invisible sounds and trajectories of 19 NASA satellites orbiting the Earth, could be experienced.
Building on this childhood memory, they created a nautilus-shaped structure using 3,500 sf of water-jet cut aluminum panels scribed with over 100 “orbital paths” fitted together and bolted to a curved framework of aluminum tubes.
The structure defines a 30’ diameter inner space with a large oculus at its center.
By employing an array of speakers within this space, programmed by artist and composer Shane Myrbeck to map, translate, and then broadcast the sounds of these satellites, the team created a “3d sound chamber” visitors can enter into and listen to the sounds of NASA’s satellites as they fly over, under and around them, in real time.
The surface perforations echo the orbital paths of the satellites, culminating around the oculus at the center of the sound chamber, while helping to mitigate exterior noise and decrease wind loads on the relatively light structure.
The pavilion made its debut this summer in New York City at the World Science Festival, and is slated to “wash ashore” on the west coast at the Huntington Library Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California this Spring.
AWARDS / RECOGNITION
2016 Chicago Athenaeum American Architecture Award
2016 Fast Company Innovation By Design Award, Honorable Mention
2016 AIA Brooklyn + Queens Design Merit Award
2016 SARA New York Chapter Design Award of Excellence
2016 Architizer A+ Award, Finalist, Category: Pavilions
2015 Interior Design Best of Year Award, Honoree.