For my second first-year studio class, I researched an obscure instrument and used its sound as a starting point to design a pavilion with space for a soloist to play it. I was assigned the Kalimba, an African thumb piano.

To describe the sound the Kalimba makes, I created a concept model and a drawing . The many distinct bends on the wire are like notes in a melody plucked on the instrument, and the helix shape symbolizes the repetitiveness of the rhythms in the song.

The next step was to translate this idea into a 6"x6"x6" module which "contains" the sound. I decided to take the shape of the bends and extrude them into a prism shape. The way the sides bend upwards is reminiscent of the "plucking" sound of the Kalimba.


I shrunk the module down to 2"x2"x2" size and created nine of them, and experimented with different combinations. At first, I laid them all out in a row; since each module is a note, I imagined one might walk straight through them as if walking through a song. In the end I settled on a more compact aggregation.

The design continued to evolve over the course of the term. I shifted certain modules over to create three distinct spaces inside the pavilion- an entryway, a space to play the instrument, and an area to observe the view; the model is located at the top of a hill in Fairmount Park. Axonometric drawings were created to determine the placement of basswood in the model. In my case, I used it to frame the exterior space where an audience can sit and listen to the soloist play.