NASA commissioned studioKCA to create an installation that resembles a shell for hearing the vast sounds of satellites. the ‘Orbit Pavilion’ was designed as a traveling exhibition to spotlight the invisible sounds and trajectories of 19 NASA satellites orbiting the earth.
Building on a childhood memory of listening to sea shells, the studioKCA created a chambered nautilus structure using 3,500 square feet of water-jet cut aluminum panels inscribed with over 100 orbital paths fitted together and bolted to a curved framework of aluminum tubes.
The construction defines a 30 inch diameter inner space with a large oculus at its center. By employing an array of speakers which were programmed by artist and composer Shane Myrbeck to map, translate and broadcast the sounds of the satellites. The team created a 3D sound chamber where visitors can enter into and listen to sounds of NASA’s satellites as they fly over, under and around them, in real time.
The surface holes echo the orbital paths, culminating around the oculus in the middle of the sound chamber, while helping to mitigate exterior noise and decrease wind loads on the fairly light structure. The NASA ‘Orbit Pavilion’ made its debut in New York City at the world science festival and is slated to arrive to California in late 2016.