House of Cymatics

All of our surroundings give out sound or vibration and the philosophy behind this project is to visualise this form in order that we can better understand its beauty. Cymatics itself is the scientific process of visualising this sound. In its raw form, this is shown by vibrating a simple membrane – such as sand or water – and recording the complex shapes that form. This philosophy has a relatively young existence, beginning yet is becoming ever more popular in the current climate – with the list of both scientific and non-scientific applications growing daily. This scheme takes upon this research and uses it to interpret a form and function appropriate to that of Burning Man


From the microscopic to the galactic our universe consists of remarkable patterns and music – or sound – is of course no different. However these patterns are usually only heard and not seen. All around us things are vibrating, changing and shifting, creating these noises and patterns and Cymatics is like a window looking into this. It enables us to reveal these patterns that we couldn’t normally see. Cymatics itself allows one to bring matter to life with the use of sound, in turn creating forms in both two dimensions and three.


By considering that sound can not only affect matter, but also can cause form: Moments of these vibrations and sounds have been modelled in an isotropic 3D form digitally – essentially allowing one to create a pavilion that represents a specifically frozen point in a moment of music. This is not only a visualisation of sound, but an exploration of how we can share and form meaning from it. Shown here are physical reinterpretations of this science devised to create something quite extraordinary.


Each module has it’s own light which projects the Cymatic patterns onto the playa and onto itself. Adding a symbolic meaning to light, it tries to connect the pavilion and playa as one, rather than just illuminating a form. A light will also run down the centre of the whole structure, projecting the same patterns and illuminating the interior area – creating a welcoming womb like environment aimed at encourage engagement.

DuskArtisticImpressionThe scheme has a human scale to it which as such encourages interaction. It provides a place for rest from the playa and as such is appropriately designed. Seating areas are present on each corner to over look the festival and an internal area gives shade from the sunlight during the day.

InteriorFurther information about the science of Cymatics and how it has been interpreted to culminate in this proposal for Burning Man can be see by reading more below:

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Cymatic Development

Throughout this studio group we have explored natural, mathematical and physical anomalies and tried to find the hidden data within it. Everything that exists gives out some sort of sound or vibration and the process of visualising this is called Cymatics. In it’s elementary form it is is often the process of vibrating a medium such as sand or water in order the generate shapes.Cymatics

The history of Cymatics originates from research into resonance by Da Vinici, Galileo and Robert Hook and then Ernest Chladini – Cladidi experimented with using a metal plate and sand to show the standing wave – or Chladini Patterns – a plate creates.

Chladni Pattern

There are a multitude of other mediums that can be used to visualise sound or even generate sound from visual.

Cymatics2 Cymatics3

Cymatics is in it’s early days of exploration, it is a looking glass into a hidden world previously unseen and the list of scientific applications growing each day. Consider that sound has a form which you can see and that it can affect matter and cause a form within matter – now imagine the architectural applications possible.

Cymatics Experimentation

Following on from initial digital experimentation on Rhino and Grasshopper I decided to take some Cymatic experiments physical. First of comparing the Chladni Patterns generated by Grasshopper with the actual experiment, deconstructing a speaker and manufacturing a system with which to transfer the vibrations of the speaker coil into the metal plate. When resonating, a plate or membrane is divided into regions that vibrate in opposite directions, bounded by lines where no vibration occurs (aka nodal lines) which is where the sand settles to create patterns.


A cymascope is also another popular way to visualise sound, where patterns are made by playing various frequencies and sounds through a speaker into a petri dish filled with water. Although certain frequencies produce clear patterns I found something much more enticing by trying to visualise actual songs through this mean.


I hope to be to expand on these phenomena in order find a more architectural application in the future

‘The Bug’ – Factory Fifteen

Following on from talks of ‘Robots of Brixton‘, Factory 15 have recently been commissioned by Ninja Tune and the Creators Project to produce one of their artists new music videos. The Bug, depicts a totalitarian future city reminiscent of a current day cross between Nineteen Eighty-Four and Minority Report. Set in a landscape combining some of London’s brutalist architecture with imaginative computer generated skyscrapers, it’s concept develops from the collapse of our consumerist society in which we are knowingly living our lives unsustainable within a system which only caters for the 1%.

Find more information on the Factory 15 page and a full interview on The Creators Project