Synaesthetic Filter by Stefan Rutzinger
& Kristina Schinegger



Los Angeles architects Stefan Rutzinger and Kristina Schinegger have designed Synaesthetic Filter, a proposed mobile pavilion for experimental music that can change shape to alter acoustic qualities during a performance.


The demountable pavilion can be dismantled for transport and assembled in public interior spaces.


Rotating acoustic elements open and close the pavilion and produce changing patterns across the surface.


Below is some more information from Stefan Rutzinger and Kristina Schinegger:


Synaesthetic filter - a mobile pavilion for experimental music

Synaesthetic filter is a mobile instrument for experimental music that can stage performances from scenic plays to sound installations and is supposed to be temporarily assembled in public interior spaces.


The pavilion acts like a visual and acoustic filter that allows a flexible positioning of the musicians and audience, and a playful integration of its surroundings. Through pivotable acoustic elements the pavilion can be closed or opened to synchronize the changing visual, spatial and acoustic qualities of the space during performances.


The acoustic panels are arrayed along a surface following its normal tangents and producing a seemingly irregular pattern that transforms when the panels are rotated.

The changing patterns refer to a theme profound to Architecture as well as to Music - rule and variation. Like the sounds that emerge from it, the pavilion produces no form but a flickering presence. It does not create an enclosure to enter but a synaesthetic experience you are immersed in.

The pavilion’s main structure is an orthogonal wireframe of aluminium tubes that are curved in only one direction to simplify construction. Spikes are welded onto the bent tubes at a constant angle (30 degrees) which functions as a rotation axis for the pivot-able acoustic elements.

These elements (1900 pieces) consist of C-shaped aluminium profiles filled with reflecting or absorbing materials. In the diagonal direction they are connected through steel ropes. Servo-motors at one end of the ropes allow to synchronically rotate the elements to open or close the space visually and modify its acoustic qualities.

The pavilion (10.00 x 12.00 x 5.00 meters) can be completely dismantled for transport. To ease assembly the structure is divided into six parts that can be pre-assembled on the ground and then be put together through interlocking joints. The acoustic elements are pre-assembled like rope ladders. When fixed onto the pins they adjust themselves into their accurate positions.

The project was a competition entry for “Ohrenstrand mobil 2008” and won one of the recognition awards for “Experimental Tendencies 2008” in Austria.

Links to the project:

Posted on Sunday January 18th 2009 at 8:05 pm by Rachael Sykes. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • uri

    I would be curious to se how it moves, the motion generator behind the concept… maybe a video simulation or a scatch of the mechanical system.

  • Bonk
  • What is the effect of changing acoustics in a performance area? Is it the modification of what we hear? Do the acoustics of a space change the sound from its original form, as in change the pitch or harmonic? Or do acoustics effect projection and reflection of that sound? When the acoustics of a room are referred to isn’t it usually to refer to the richness and life that the room adds to the music?

    What is the effect of changing acoustics during a performance, as referenced above? Does it have enough value on the music to justify setting up a demountable system of rods, panels, ropes, and servo motors and training someone to operate it to the effect that the artists desire?

    A room with good acoustics can be engineered to suit all sounds. I believe these principles can be transferred to create a demountable pavillion with good acoustics. I’m not sure of the value of dynamic acoustics for a musical performance or installation. Nothing that couldn’t be solved with much less expensive reverb and delay units anyway.

  • Sounds impressive in theory– I’d be curious as to how the physical experience would pan out.

    The Concert Hall in Lucerne is a similar animal or a kissing cousin at least: it’s engineered to acoustically adapt to 100 piece orchestras–or intimate solo guitar performances. I wonder if this filter could be applied to do something similar for conventional performance spaces.

  • This is a fantastic promiss! I really like to see and hear it built. The theme of movement and architecture seems well suited in the music realm. To resort to experimental music performances in relation to changing physical and acoustic performance, seems a bit limiting to me. What if the space-visitor relation changes? That would be really interesting in my mind for a wide range of music.

  • slater

    I’d be afraid that the “skin” if you could call it that is not dense enough to reflect sound effectively. I do love the transparent quality of it though. This is a very dynamic form, especially since it is created with the array of those fins. It would be interesting to see a prototype built and tested….

  • HouseCat

    “A room with good acoustics can be engineered to suit all sounds.” – NOT TRUE!!!
    For instance: A room designed for playing symphony in will be terrible for holding a meeting. There is no such thing as good acoustic design that suit all sounds.

  • HouseCat:
    I will rephrase: “A room with good acoustics can be engineered to suit most musical performances.” This, after all, is what the statement indicates as the purpose of this pavillion. Not meetings. What is the value of dynamically changing the acoustics of a space DURING a performance? There are easier ways than the one proposed here.

  • I doubt this design’s ability to ‘dynamically’ change the acoustics. I’m sure it would have some effect, but I’d be willing to bet that a blindfolded listener wouldn’t be able to tell the difference easily.


    experimental music tends to be appreciated on a more conceptual level than even contemporary architecture… I think this design follows suit, even if it is incredibly impractical. (The beginning of this article identifies “proposed mobile pavilion for experimental music” – I don’t read German, so I’m trusting that “experimental” is a correct translation of the original.

    That being said, I really like this.