Tilted Spheres

Richard Serra’s giant concave artworks can produce an astonishing diversity of sounds.

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I stumbled across this Richard Serra sculpture when flying back from Tononto Airport. Clapping is one way of exploring the space, it’s like having a giant sound-effects unit to play with. Get the right place, and the focused reflections from the arcs follow repetative patterns creating Gatling gun echoes.

The start of this video nicely shows off the effects of clapping

It’s also fun to listen out for people with noisy roller suitcases walking down the middle. What’s nice about this sculpture is being outside a gallery means the public can play with the sound. Here is a spot of impromptu singing exploiting the acoustic.

Location

Pearson Airport. Terminal 1, after security, International departures, hammerhead F.

Credits

Photo: By Ken Mist from Brampton, Canada – Tilted Spheres, CC BY-SA 2.0

Author: Trevor Cox

I am a Professor of Acoustic Engineering at the University of Salford where I carry out research and teaching focussing on architectural acoustics, signal processing and audio perception. I am also an author and radio broadcaster having presented many documentaries on BBC radio and written books for academics and the general public.