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Leslie Pavilion, Amsterdam

Exploring sound in three dimensions

Arup’s ‘Leslie Pavilion’ explores a new application of the spatial audio effect pioneered by Donald Leslie in the 1930s with his signature Hammond organ amplifier with rotating speakers. The installation consists of two hyperbolic paraboloids (hypars) inside which people can hear a spatialised rotational effect from a moving speaker. This shifts the audio image based on the speaker axis relative to the architectural shaped shells.

The two self supporting shell structures are made from sustainable FSC pine plywood milled to a smooth 3D surface using a digital fabrication technique by Arup.

Each hypar shape focusses and scatters sound in different axes, but when rotated away from each other the installation focuses all the reflected sound from the loudspeaker and directs it in the centre of the pavilion. Rotational movement along this region causes listener to hear swirling sound quality to the music in three dimensions, to create a psycho-acoustic filter.


The installation consists of two wooden shells in which people are invited to listen to sound reflecting off the shells via a custom designed digitally rotating speaker.

The installation can be ‘played’ with curated ambient audio or with a keyboard and heard between the hypar shapes. We presented the Leslie Pavilion at the exhibition of the International Spatial and Shell Structures 2015 in 'Muziekgebouw', and at the Amsterdam Dance Event 2015, a multiday event featuring in-depth techniques in the field of sound synthesis and innovative ways to produce sound.

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