Students' wooden forest megaphones augment nature's soothing sounds

Estonian Academy of Arts
© Estonian Academy of Arts

Sound is an incredibly important component in our lives, something that ancient cultures were intimately aware of (one might look to the Vedic conception of "om" as the sound vibration connecting all of existence together, for example). In our own lives, we sense on an intuitive level how sound might affect us and our well-being, as anyone who might be living full-time in a city can feel tensions melting away as soon as they step into the calm quiet of nature. Aiming to help people tune into the sounds of nature, architecture students of the Estonian Academy of Arts, with input from local firms b210 and Derelict, created these three megaphone-shaped forms as meditation spaces that amplify nature's ambient music.

Estonian Academy of Arts© Estonian Academy of Arts

Dubbed "Ruup" and located within a forest in Võru county and near the Pähni Nature Centre, the structures double as a "forest library," and outdoor theatre shelters as well. The 9.8-foot wide cones are also convenient spots for hikers to rest or even sleep in.

Estonian Academy of Arts© Estonian Academy of Arts
Estonian Academy of Arts© Estonian Academy of Arts
Estonian Academy of Arts© Estonian Academy of Arts

Writer, semiotician and project participant Valdur Mikita had this to say about Ruup on Designboom:

The trademark of estonia is both the abundance of sounds in our forest as well as the silence there. In the megaphones, thoughts can be heard. it is a place for browsing the ‘book of nature,’ for listening to and reading the forest through sound.

Estonian Academy of Arts© Estonian Academy of Arts

This is an interesting way to look at nature. We are such a visually oriented culture, increasingly tuned into our screens. Sound can be a very subtle thing, and finding a way to support the exploration of sound in nature is a great concept. Course advisor Hannes Praks explains this in terms of frequencies and the secluded site:

The farther we get from the intense vibration of the capital, the better we are able to sense the low-frequency vibration of nature. This is why the installation would be missing its essence if it were to be located next to Tallinn. In the megaphones, a certain surround sound effect, communicated by the megaphones when the distance and angle is just right, is worth testing.

Estonian Academy of Arts© Estonian Academy of Arts

This thoughtful project is a great example of how when we talk about preserving the environment, we also need to consider protecting the silence of nature, against the intrusion of encroaching noise pollution. That seeming silence has a beneficial frequency and vibration, that may be more important to our well-being than we imagine. More over at Designboom and Estonian Academy of Arts.

Tags: Architecture | Nature | Universities

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