Insects and Humans Harmonize in a Symphony of Architectural Sound in this Roman Installation

Within the walls of OFL Architecture's open-air wooden pavilion, the term "built environment" truly earns its keep. In Wunderbugs, humans become spectators of the natural world as insects toil away in six spherical ecosystems, and sensors weave movements into a web of data. Upon entering the pavilion, visitors are transformed into components of an interactive soundtrack harvested from the sensors and broadcast in the space, uniting the insect and human experience. The project was conceived for the second annual Maker Faire Europe in Rome, where it was installed earlier this month.

Enter the interactive acoustic experience of Wonderbugs after the break.

Insects and Humans Harmonize in a Symphony of Architectural Sound in this Roman Installation - More Images+ 8

Courtesy of OFL Architecture

Wunderbugs was inspired by a desire to explore the connection between man and nature. Created by a team comprised of a biologist, a sound engineer, a composer, and an architect, the project culminated in a marriage of architectural and organic design with tactile experience. "By playing with technology, the architecture and pavilion’s geometry create an outdoor room equipped with an audio installation in which the music [is made] through combining nature and [man in] an inseparable (and abstract) relationship with the world’s harmony," says the brief. 

Speakers embedded in the structure play the data-composed musical soundtrack. Image Courtesy of OFL Architecture

Built of a series of CNC and laser cut plywood panels, the adjustable modular pavilion was designed for flexible installation. Ninety-two four-sided components combine to form the pavilion's unique ancient Roman-inspired facade, peppered by circular perforations to optimize sunlight for the miniature biospheres. The pavilion is equipped with a series of Arduino sensors to detect location, motion, humidity, temperature, and intensity of sunlight, each programmed to record changes and produce a soundtrack of data in real-time. Changes in human and insect patterns in the pavilion affect the data collected by sensors, therefore aligning the musical soundtrack with the movements of the inhabitants of the space. The resulting work creates a harmony between the built and natural environments, inviting participation from all types of living beings.

Arduino sensors embedded in the structure measure human movements in the pavilion. Image Courtesy of OFL Architecture
Six biospheres each feature different types of ecosystems and insects. Image Courtesy of OFL Architecture

Read more about the world of Wunderbugs from OFL Architecture, a Rome-based interdisciplinary design firm.

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Cite: Finn MacLeod. "Insects and Humans Harmonize in a Symphony of Architectural Sound in this Roman Installation" 19 Oct 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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