• Synaesthetic Museum

    Francois MANGION & Shuchi AGARWAL, "Synaesthetic Museum."

    Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
    2013 M.Arch GAD (Distinction)
    advisors: Marjan COLLETTI, Guan LEE, & Hannes MAYER.

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    Francois MANGION & Shuchi AGARWAL: The Synaesthetic Museum project forms part of a design research carried out during our Masters Degree and now forms part on an ongoing personal research project.

    This project seeks to find a harmony between the visual and aural perception in architecture. Using light as the architectural generative tool to create form, the Synaesthetic Museum exemplifies the relationship between the actual form itself and the aural qualities it can create. Merging together the individual field of research within light caustics (Francois Mangion) and phonetics of space (Shuchi Agarwal), the museum heightens ones awareness of the essential role the human senses play in the built environment.

    Located on the opposite side of the historical French-Canadian city of Quebec in Canada, across river St. Lawrence, this project represents an initial step towards interpreting the intelligent proportions of the harmonic instruments to design an architecture performance through sound into expressions of formal proportion in architecture. A harmonic layer of string arrangement, designed through the synthesis of harmonic proportions, forms an Aeolian pavilion that uses wind energy to generate pleasant synaesthetic sound. The spatial and functional implications of the Synaesthetic Museum become key requirements for it to function both as a museum and an Aeolian building. Structured round several prototypes and investigations, the design explores various tectonic analysis related to both the architectural language, generated through caustics, and the inclusion of fully functional harmonic strings. The goal of this project is to be able to translate and re-interpret a combination of sound and light through form; to better understand how to create atmosphere and compose a one unique performative experience.

    The trend of movement and transition of light caustic patterns were studied through meticulous data mapping of the interaction between the initial surface pattern and its projected caustic pattern. The relation between the light source, the initial pattern and its protected pattern onto a designed recording surface was investigated through a fully functional physical generative model. Multiple light sources were computed individually providing arrayed projected curves generating form. Combining the human scale, structural possibility and the relationship with the environment, the projected arrays of the caustic pattern were further refined and optimised.

    Applying how light evolves into habitable spaces, the museum redefines how people occupy the built environment also through sound hence experiencing a homogeneous correlation between the volumetric qualities of light and sound. Operating as a sensorial extension of the city, the Synaesthetic Museum engages the users in an optical and harmonic experience. Like an Aeolian harp, the building played by the wind unifies the riverside’s environment visually and acoustically transforming the full character of the juxtaposed natural sound of the breaking frozen river in the harsh Canadian winter.

    Synaesthetic Museum is a visual and aural application generating a poetic aesthetic of a fully experiential architecture that awakens one’s exploration through various areas of perception.

    sP: What or who influenced this project?
    FM & SA: Light caustics, light-generated art by Alan Jaras, Paul Konrad Hoenich, “Sun Projections,” Marjan Colletti, fabrication techniques by Guan Lee.

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    FM & SA: Paul Konrad Hoenich, “Sun Projections”; Julio Le Parc; Philip Beesley; Neri Oxmann; Arcades by Troika (2012); Architectural Caustics study by the École Polytechnique Fédérale De Lausanne; Philippe Bompass; Light Is the Theme: Louis I. Kahn and the Kimbell Art Museum.

    sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
    FM & SA: Marjan Colletti, Ruth Bianco, Philip Beesley, Neri Oxman, Michael Hansmeyer, Isaie Bloch, and Daniel Widrig

    Additional credits / links:
    Thanks to our design tutors Marjan Colletti and Guan Lee together with Hannes Mayer and Pavlos Fereos.
    Francois Mangion is a recipient of Arts Scholarship, financed by the Government of Malta.


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