hMa Research: transforming sound waves into visual pattern: architecture presents sound, visually
In 2006 hanrahan Meyers architects (hMa) were hired by a public client to design a new Community Center adjacent to Ground Zero. Victoria Meyers architect, the primary designer for the project, responded by designing a community center, DWiP (Digital Water i-Pavilion), that is a built landscape, a long horizontal expanse of public spaces with a Green Roof, and a glass wall facing the Ballfields. The building is scheduled to open in October 2012.
The public face of the building is a 550-foot long glass wall, facing West Street. The Architects collaborated with composer and sound artist Michael Schumacher, who wrote a composition, 'WaTER' , to be etched onto the glass façade as a frit pattern. The Architects, in collaboration with Schumacher, selected WaTER as an appropriate image for a building designed with a Platinum LEED certification. Water is a huge issue in the contemporary world, where clean water is desappearing. The frit pattern on the glass talks about water, both visually, and through Schumacher's composition. The glass wall is being designed with an App, so that visitors will be able to point smart phones at the glass, and hear the Schumacher piece.
WaTER on the façade immerses visitors to DWiP (Digital Water i-Pavilion), in a sound as well as visual experience as they walk from South to North, in an arc pointing toward the new wordl trade center buildings, and the park commemorating 9/11. The walk in front of the building links to street crossings at West Street. The glass façade will have three openings, where visitors can walk up from the Ballfields below, to an upper plaza, where the architects designed a Green Roof, in collaboration with landscape designers SCAPE. A full-length version of Schumacher's WaTER will be available as a download after the opening of the building, planned for May 2012.
The project and research bring a prominent sound artist into collaboration with hanrahan Meyers architects to produce a visual artifact. The interpretive process took many iterations as the Clients had several parameters for the design. In addition to requiring the design to clearly demonstrate the WaTER composition, the architects also needed to identify a pattern that was not overly intrusive in visitor's view from inside the building. The pattern acts as a solar screen, preventing solar heat gain and provided a point toward the LEED certification.
for more information about hanrahan Meyers architects and DWiP, visit hanrahanmeyers.com