Language has a strong symbolic meaning to the mankind. It is not just a sound but with meanings which then allows to self-express, communicate and inspire. The mechanism of the sound system of languages is translated into visually represented geometries using Chladni’s Law.
3-Dimensional computer generated Chladni Patterns
When the frequencies increase, the pattern gets more complicated.
Tower of Babel – The origin of different languages
“Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly. […] Come let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” (Genesis 11:3~4)
(The Tower of Babel by Pieter Bruegel)
It is the story from the Bible but also architectural structure found in Mesopotamia Civilisation – called Ziggurat. It was made of asphalt and baked bricks with total dimensions of 90m x 90m, 90m high. This is equivalent 30th floor building.
The united humanity spoke a single language and agreed to build a city and a tower that is ‘tall enough to reach heaven’. God found such behaviour as rude and disrespectful. He confounded man’s speech so that they could no longer understand each other.
Concept Development through systematic studies of Ziggurat
The frequency and nodes of the word is analysed and recreated as two geometrical forms. They are proportioned according to the Ziggurat Algorithm ratio and timber pieces are stacked up vertically reaching the highest deck at 8m above. The structure encourages to climb complex geometry.
While reaching the top, less intense the space becomes. The LEDs are placed underneath the timber pieces which are concentrated on the top of the tower and scattered following the central void of the structure. Lights illuminate with the voice reactive sensor placed at the top of the tower.
Human always wanted to reach higher points either physical or spiritual. The height of architecture symbolised one’s power and control. This can be observed from the tower of Babel and continues in architectural history. Such expression of the desire of heights lead to competition of building higher structure.
High rise buildings were often found in religious architecture where they had few typical characteristics. First, it was the only tower to observe your land and the only tower which can be seen from everywhere in town. It has a visual meaning that the land within the perspective is the land within control. Second, religious architecture often had music instruments embedded within. This represented the control of the land where music reaches. And finally, high-rise tower was a representation of the centre of universe and sacred space in religious term. The tower, architecture of height is a spatial symbol of man’s deep desires.
The ritual is all about finding the true desire of your own. This begins with constructing the tower where the ritual follows the biblical story of Babel. Climbing up 8m high construct is a challenge then the climbers are rewarded with the beautiful panoramic view of Black Rock city. The climbers will also interact with the installation by continuously stacking up the Babels with anything they can find. Eventually it will deform from the original shape. Then the Babels will be the collective symbol of the Burners’ pure desire.
SOL is an architecture designed by Burning Man for Burning Man as a celebration of its surrounding landscape.The design creates an enclosed space, which is flooded with light daily at 12pm for a limited time. This ritual occurs only when both sun and architecture line up, becoming one entity.
SOL is 9m long, 3m wide and 5m tall. The entire structure is made out of 18mm birch plywood, cut with CNC and assembled on the Playa.
SOL is directly connected with its surrounding landscape, mimicking the silhouette of the harsh mountains. A series of 9 chimneys, which rise from the ground create several sloped surfaces where users can lay down to relax and embrace the natural surrounding. During daytime SOL will be a climbable structure, which can also provide shelter from the challenging conditions of the desert.
SOL was designed to act, appear and generate different experiences based on the user’s position.Frontally viewed it acts as a sun clock aligning with the sun at 12pm.
The overall shape resembles a series of monolithic rocks emerging from the playa, which are inspired by the landscape. During night time, SOL is dynamically lit by LED strips both internally and externally, producing a colorful light show, which celebrates the darkness of the night through artificial light.
Over the years, Black Rock City has seen a multitude of projects which have been created to animate the Playa.
SOL aims to be a playful, interactive and informative design, which enhances the relationship between humans and celestial bodies, in particular with the sun. Human history has been driven by the cult of the sun, and divinities and architecture have been dedicated to it. With the help of parametric design and environmental analysis, SOL is a direct representation of a particular moment on the playa: 12pm of everyday.
Internally, the light that penetrates and cast itself on the floor for only 30 minutes, wants to make the user aware of the sun’s movement in a more evident way. This phenomenon is a daily ritual, which brings people together in order to experience a connection with our universe that we sometimes take for granted since we cannot directly perceive it.
The wooden structure will be lit on fire on the last day of the festival since it was designed to exist only at Burning Man for the length of the festival.
My inspirations has a direct link to archeoastrology, a science that looks at the relationship between celestial bodies and architecture, i.e. Stonehenge, Chiceniza and the Parthenon in Rome. The common element between these projects is the attention, precision and relation with the sky and the movement of the sun. All of these projects and many more, create a different dimension where the architecture only becomes a tool to admire and contemplate what surrounds us.
In conclusion, SOL aims to be an example of how architecture can be shaped by the use of datas and parametric design, in order to deliver a project which is directly derived from its surrounding environment.
Whatever your creed your reliance on the sun is unquestionable.
We have worshipped it as a God.
Spent lifetimes studying it through science.
Yet human hands will never touch its surface.
Celestial Field brings our sun to the Playa for us to dance in its glory.
Triggering our own solar flare.
From the dawn of time the sun has been a constant in human life. It has been central to the beliefs of nearly every civilisation throughout history. What was once an astrological wonder sustaining life; dictating when to plant and harvest our crops; evolved into a god and deity, woven into the stories and teachings of nearly every culture, from the Egyptians to the Ancient Greeks and even Christianity.
The oldest man-made structures in the world have resounding astrological connections to both the sun and constellations, covered in carvings they unquestionably align to major astrological events.
Newgrange in Boyne Valley, Ireland, thought to be built in 3500BC, has a tomb in which sits a stone basin lit by a single beam of light at sunrise on the winter solstice.
The Egyptians, Greeks, and Christians have all referenced the sun within their religion and beliefs.
The Egyptians in 3000BC had Ra, the Greeks in 400BC believed Helios to be God of the sun, and Christians have often depicted Jesus in front of what is thought by many to be the solar cross.
In the past the sun has been depicted as a 2Dimensional disk of light travelling across the sky before dying only to be reborn at sunrise.
The Ancient Greeks believed Helios to be the personification of the sun. A man with a many rayed crown of light, pulling the sun across the open sky with a horse drawn chariot. The Helios named after the Greek god has been used and adapted through the ages, with one of the most recognisable iterations being the logo of global corporation BP which symbolises “a number of things – not least the greatest source of energy … the sun itself..” – bp.com
This once celestial being has now become a tangible thing. Through advances in our technological and scientific capability we have gained an understanding of the suns chemical make-up, uncovering many of its secrets from sun spots to solar flares. Although we have developed an increased understanding of the forces driving the sun, it is still no more accessible to us mere humans than on the first day on earth remaining an impenetrable sphere in the sky only to viewed from a far.
Digital animation of lighting tests
The suns surface has taught us much. Galileo’s sun spot diagrams unknowingly demonstrated the unique fluidity of the suns chromosphere. Further study of these sun spots and magnificent solar flares proved that the surface of the sun is covered in billions of interlaced magnetic fields all interacting together to form the whole. When these fields cross swirling plasma burst in an instance out into the corona bringing with it immense light displays that can be seen on earth as the aurora.
In an age where endless streams of newfound knowledge are accessible with the touch of a finger – it is easy to lose our sense of innocent amazement and unquestioning awe. We have a constant need for explanation of why and how phenomena exist, no longer blindly excepting their beauty and revelling in it.
The indescribable beauty of these gigantic magnetic fields can often be lost and forgotten in the mundane when scaled down to earthly objects. Viewing them at a micro scale allows us to connect with their other-worldly nature.
Science has taught us how a magnet attracts and repels enabling use in industry, medicine and everyday life. And as our knowledge expands, we move from child to adulthood and our desire to play diminishes – burdened by explanations and reasoning; we are no longer in awe of our ability to make metal move without laying hands on it. It has become the norm and the expected, it is no longer ‘magic’.
Life should be fun and full of mesmerising moments. Our increased knowledge should enable and enhance our experience of ‘magic’ not hinder it.
Celestial Fields captures the unexplainable wonderment the sun once held and makes it accessible through modern mediums, combining two worlds; science and enchantment, imbedding them on the Playa at Black Rock City, Nevada, for people to explore and lose themselves in.
Thousands of swaying rods made of tubes of one-way mirror form an undulating field, rising high above your head, and falling like the plasma pulled in all directions by the phenomenal magnetic forces found on our sun.
By day a field of mirrors reflect and intensify the suns natural beauty and power. Creating a maze of ever changing light to explore, push through and play within. At sunset everything transforms. The field morphs, bursting into a sea of glowing beams reacting to movement and mimicking the fluid, almost pulsing nature of the suns corona.
Like the chromosphere, magnetic fields have informed density and pattern, creating patches of pure brightness and areas as dark as sunspots. With each rod built on a spring loaded base it can be pushed a manipulated, enabling you to forge your own path through the densest areas of Celestial Field, parting rods like magnets repelling polarised iron.
Movement through the sprung rods creates interest not only for the participants but also onlookers. During daylight hours people weaving in and out can be seen across the playa through the constant glinting of the sun on the reflective rods. An ever changing shimmer, like sunlight dancing across water in the distance, drawing people in from all directions out of wonder and intrigue.
Once the sun has set the lights come on, and the show only gets better. The rods now glow and pulse, changing colour, transforming the world around them – each equipped with a sensor so as to react to movement as people push past; creating tracks of swirling light shifting like the turbulent surface of the sun. Areas of intense and overwhelming light can occur when people team together to trigger a cluster of rods forming a concentration of light evocative of a solar flare.
The sun is not solely about light, with it comes inevitable darkness. Shadows too have been used throughout time as a symbol in opposition to that of the sun; and in this instance the areas of shadow formed in the magnetic layout create areas of calm within the thrill of the lights where one can sit and ponder everything from the dessert to the sky and the sun that brings life to earth.
What was once worshipped as a distant god and celestial being can now exist on the surface of the earth as a Celestial Field in Nevada. The sun has risen and set, bringing with it heat and light; powering life on earth since the dawn of time, a focus of incomprehensible wonder and fascination for each and every culture across the globe.
Celestial Field intends to reignite our faith in the intangible, while showing us there are powers and beauty still to be found in the modern world.
‘The legend of a dream catcher began long time ago, when the child of a Woodland chief fell ill. Unsettled by fever, the child was plagued with bad dreams and unable to sleep. In an attempt to heal him, the tribe’s Medicine Woman created a device that would ‘catch’ these bad dreams. Forming a circle with a slender willow branch, she filled the centre with sinew, using a pattern borrowed from our brother the Spider, who weaves a web. This dream catcher was then hung over the bed of the child. Soon the fever broke, and the child slept peacefully.
It is said that at night, when dreams visit, they are caught in the dream catcher’s web, and only the good dreams are able to find their way to the dreamer, filtering down through the feather. When the warmth of the morning sun arrives, it burns away the bad dreams that have been caught. The good dreams, now knowing the path,visit again on other nights.’ (Oberholtzer, 2012, p9).
Dreamcatchers originated with the Ojibwe, a tribe of Native Americans scattered throughout the areas of the lake country in northern Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, and along the southern border of Canada, along the shores of Lakes Huron, Superior and Michigan, whose survival relied on fishing, hunting and trapping.
Traditionally, the dream catchers were made by tying sinew strands onto a few inches in diameter round or tear-shaped frames of willow and were often wrapped in leather.
The spiritual life of the Ojibwa centred around the Midewiwin, the Grand Medicine Society and focused on the individual spiritual growth, gaining the insight through their dreams or visions.
My project is a re-interpretation of the beliefs that dreams have magical qualities with the ability to change or direct one’s path in life. The bawaajige nagwaagan intends to create a mystical experience, where people are caught inside, similar to the way that bad dreams are caught in the dreamcatcher’s web, and good dreams escape through the centre. The participants are encouraged to climb through the centre and escape their bad dreams and feelings, releasing their spirit through the enclosure. Now they can sleep in the peaceful environment, stimulated by the fantasy of glowing feathers and luminescent rope structures. The pavilion aims for people to sleep, relax and free themselves from stress while being protected by the magical webs of the dream catcher.
Romantic essence of the Native American Culture
The proposal is a celebration of the romantic essence of the Native American Culture. The large scale, three dimensional net is inspired by the native methods and techniques of making dream catchers. It is a manifestation of the traditions and significance of the Native Americans, paying respect and pledging support to the indigenous people of America.
The structure situated in the Burning Man festival commemorates the ceremonies of Native Americans, dedicated to acquiring an insight through dreams and visions. Fasting, or giving up of certain necessities for a certain length of time was a common practice used to enhance one’s ability to access different dreams or visions. Another method was to pour water over hot rocks to produce steam, which enhanced the occurrence of dreams, used as source of introspection. These rituals relate to the festival’s assertion of disconnecting from the necessities of our contemporary world, supplemented by the extreme weather conditions, which are hoped to encourage reflection.
The pavilion responds and works together with the Black Rock desert’s environment, and adds to the wider cultural context of leaving behind the essentials and expectations of the contemporary world while creating a moment for contemplation and tranquility in the magical weaves of the dream catcher.
Form Experimentation_Platonic Forms
The structure will be composed out of three, seven meters in diameter, dream catchers, tilted to form a tetrahedron. Each dream catcher’s net will be made out of 275 meters, 18mm, synthetic hemp rope which will be entwined in 1320 meters of 3mm fluorescent cord. Attached to the frame uv lights will make the fluorescent rope glow at night. Three rings hold the net structure together, with the bottom ring anchored to the ground, made out of T-shape plywood frames. The web of the frame will be 4 layers of 15mm ‘banana’ shaped pieces which will create a circle, together with 4 layers of 230mm x 2400mm x 9mm flange pieces bent in shape of the banana edge. Smaller rings, supporting the centre of the dreamcatcher net will be of similar structure, with 2 layers of banana pieces and 2 layers of 150mm x 2400m x 9mm flange pieces, bent in shape. The frame will be wrapped in 13500 meters of 8mm synthetic hemp with attached fluorescent fabric feathers.
Testing Ideas in 1:1 Scale
Assembly of the net is inspired by a macrame knotting technique rather than weaving which means that the net could be made out of smaller 15 meters long pieces, rather than one 275 m coil of rope, making it easier to assemble and repair. Rope is anchored to the frame with thimbles and shackles, attached to the bolted staple on the plate. The rope is connected with simple S-shape stainless steel hooks. After testing the net I found that although these are easy to assemble, they can create some movement in a connection, therefore I am planning on exploring the idea of ferrules, which could be crimped in place.
The installation centers around the natural forms of feathers and pine cones, both being significant symbols in Native American culture, specifically relating to the Agai-Dicutta Numu. Feathers were often used as an expression of a certain virtue or to reflect a certain individual or significant event. As such feathers were viewed in a similar manner to a gift from a high official, representing a link between the individual and divinity.
The sculpture starts in the form of a feather to reflect on the link between man and divine. The bright colours painted across the platforms represent those painted across the barbs of the modern feathers used in Native American ceremonial dress and ornamentation.
As burners ascend they will make their way up the vane of a feather they will complete their own initiation, drawing similarity between the great events that feathers were rewarded for in the past. As the platforms open they will begin to transform in shape to bear visual resemblance to pine cones.
The pine nuts are important in particular for the Northern Paiutes to survive the winter; and have their own festival in the third week of September. The change in form will reflect the process of change from receiving a symbol from the divine, to receiving bountiful harvest and personal fulfillment. The lighting will help to accentuate the fluctuations in shape throughout the day and night, representing the omnipresent divinity and how it can be seen in many different forms of nature.
Form finding and colour explorationInteractivity
The piece will be both physically and visually interactive, with a changing form that will alter over the course of the festival. Burners can twist the colorful platforms around their central core allowing them to climb to the higher levels. As they do so they will be able to read messages of wisdom from other burners and leave their own along the way. The bridging links are fixed and thus can be used by the burners to sit and relax, observing the surrounding playa. The structure can also be used as a shelter, by rotating the platforms to create shade from the sun’s direct heat as well as forming a barrier from wind.
Special holes carved through some of the platforms will facilitate themselves as climbing holds to aid burners on their ascent. The bridging links are fixed and thus can be used by the burners to sit and relax, observing the surrounding playa. As the platforms are rotated, light will interact with the sculpture in different manners, pouring through the holes and creating intricate shadows. At night, the project will illuminate and create a light show, which will make the climbing possible even during night time.
Model – scale 1:1
Model- scale 1:50
Materials and components
The varying thickness platforms will be comprised of 12 and 25 mm layers of plywood, depending on it’s span and form. In each platform will be a ring of 10 mm acrylic between the top layers allows for LEDs to cast out a unique visual form at night. Metal ball bearings will separate each platform facilitating the change of form as it is used by burners.
All this will be held up by steel tubes measuring between 5 and 6 meters in height with a diameter of 160mm. The steel tubes will be welded to a metal plate buried in the sand and secured with ground anchors. The feathers are also structurally supporting each other, through the 4 bridge link, made from the same plywood.