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NASA Orbit Pavilion


Shared By

Symone Garvett

Project Name

NASA Orbit Pavilion

Project Status


Year Completed



1,100 sq. feet





  • Structural Engineer: Silman
  • Other: Arup SoundLab
  • Other: Shane Myrbeck
  • Other: NASA JPL


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Project Description


Do you remember putting a shell up to your ear to "listen to the ocean"? What if you could walk into a massive shell and listen to the sounds of space- or rather, a symphony built out of the sounds of satellites in space? This was what STUDIOKCA’s principals Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang proposed when commissioned by NASA to design a travelling pavilion where the invisible sounds and trajectories of 19 NASA satellites orbiting the Earth, could be experienced.

“I remembered as a kid, going to the ocean, putting a shell to my ear, and feeling like the entire vastness of that body of water was somehow captured there in sound. When NASA asked us to create a space to interact with sounds from space, Lesley and I knew we wanted to recreate the magic of that shell experience.” -Jason Klimoski, principal, STUDIOKCA

Building on this childhood memory, STUDIOKCA created a nautilus-shaped structure using 3,500 sf of water-jet cut aluminum panels scribed with over 100 “orbital paths” fitted together and bolted to a curved framework of aluminum tubes. The structure defines a 30’ diameter inner chamber with a large oculus at its center. By employing an array of speakers within this space, programmed by artist and composer Shane Myrbeck to map, translate, and then broadcast the sounds of these satellites, the team created a “3d sound chamber” visitors can enter into and listen to the sounds of NASA’s satellites as they fly over, under and around them, in real time. The surface perforations echo the orbital paths of the satellites orbiting the earth, and culminate around the oculus at the center of the sound chamber.

“People curve their way into the shell following the lines of surface perforations, listening to the sounds traveling from speaker to speaker, and end up in the center, staring up through the oculus at the sky, picturing the satellites they can’t see, but know are there; invisible, but almost tangible.” -Lesley Chang, Principal, STUDIOKCA

The pavilion is currently on display at the Huntington Library, Art Collection, and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California until September 2017.
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