80Hz pavilion in sydney by thomas wing-evans turns paintings into music

80Hz pavilion in sydney by thomas wing-evans turns paintings into music

british designer and architect thomas wing-evans has created ’80Hz’, an interactive sound pavilion in collaboration with the dx lab for the state library of new south wales in australia, which takes paintings from the library’s collection and turns them into music. located outside the mitchell reading room in sydney’s CBD, the installation features a curving black timber frame clad in matt anodized aluminum shingles.

the geometry is designed to keep the rain off whilst allowing natural airflow and daylight to enter



working with studio sonar sound, wing-evans has developed a computer program to translate visual data into sound. images were analyzed for visual data such as complexity, color, tone and face detection, and metadata like date, location, and subject. these values then formed the basis of computer-generated compositions.

the anodized aluminum shingles sit in stark contrast to the heritage sandstone facades of the state library



inside the structure, a central mechanism displays a selection of paintings on a reel, like a real-life instagram feed. visitors can crank a handle to select an image and listen to its soundscape. multi-channel audio embedded in the floor and all corners creates an immersive experience that surrounds visitors and resonates through the structure. the metal cladding and geometry mean that the sound reverberates, creating a unique acoustic space.

from different angles, 80Hz can glow with reflected daylight or turn completely black as the timber becomes visible



‘beyond its acoustic qualities, my intention was to create a structure that provides shelter while allowing visitors to feel rooted in the city and the natural elements. from above, the open shingles completely overlap, keeping the rain off while allowing daylight to enter into the space,’ explains the designer. ‘openings at eye level allow passersby to peer inside and visitors to see out, which was key for making the space welcoming. at night, audio-reactive lighting pulsates through the cladding, attracting visitors to experience the state library’s painting collection in an entirely new way.’ 

the pavilion sits next to a statue of matthew flinders, giving human scale and a sense of place


the door appears to be drawn open like a curtain, giving the structure a lightweight feel


a visitor arrives


from above, the colors to change with the weather — on a grey day, the aluminum reflects the muted tones of the clouds


the blackened timber and anodized aluminum contrast, resembling fish scales


the layered shingles reflect daylight onto one another, creating a unique view from below


the images sit on a transparent reel like a real-life instagram feed


the images are selected by winding a hand crank on the side of the reel


audio-reactive lighting pulsates in time with the music, turning the pavilion into a beacon at night


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: maria erman | designboom

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