A new sound in New York City

Brooklyn-based architects Stereotank make playful installations designed to spark new forms of cultural engagement. Through imaginative repurposing of everyday objects, the Venezuela-born duo create novel, approachable settings for public performance.

 

 

The firm’s latest project, HeartBeat, won New York’s annual Times Square Valentine Heart competition. Formed from two halves of a septic tank, the sculpture emits a low-frequency heartbeat sound synched with subtle pulses of light. It also incorporates various percussion instruments that allow visitors to add their own compositions to Times Square’s rich soundscape.

Arup acoustician Terence Caulkins and lighting designer Stephanie Hillegas worked closely with Stereotank throughout its development. As with many public art projects, Caulkins told us, the technical challenge lay not so much in any particular detail as in the combination of a large number of nonstandard components and processes.

This video from the Architectural League, the New York-based nonprofit that managed the Valentine’s Day competition, shows some of the solutions developed.

 

 

HeartBeat will be on display in Times Square through March 8.

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