NASA Orbit Pavilion Debuts at The Huntington Library



The seashell-like aluminum structure for the NASA Orbit Pavilion will be on display at The Huntington Library, Art Collection and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, Calif., through Feb. 27, 2017. The StudioKCA-designed configuration is home to a sound installation, created in collaboration with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and sound artist Shane Myrbeck. It represents the movement of the International Space Station and 19 Earth satellites through artistically created sounds.

“Like holding a shell to one’s 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?,” asked Jason Klimoski, principal of StudioKCA. Visitors have the opportunity to gain a sonic and experiential understanding of how NASA satellites circumnavigate Earth.

Klimoski and his partner Lesley Chang, the architects and designers who make up the StudioKCA team, worked with NASA’s data and Myrbeck’s composition to create a sound chamber comprising 28 speakers arranged to mimic orbits. The pattern of the nautilus structure reflects the paths of space satellites: 100 orbital paths are water-jet cut from 3,500 square feet of aluminum panels that fit together around a curved framework of aluminum tubes. The pavilion’s design minimizes external noise and decreases the wind loads on the light structure to create an immersive environment.

The NASA Orbit Pavilion is the first exhibition of Five, an initiative that connects The Huntington’s various collections to five external organizations and contemporary artists over the next five years. The Huntington is home to an extensive collection on the history of astronomy and aerospace, making the pavilion—a collaborative art and science project—a “stellar” first choice for the series.

The Pavilion debuted in the summer of 2015 at the World Science Festival at New York University and then traveled to The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York. The Huntington Library is the pavilion's first appearance on the West Coast.