Architect's structures create new art

Apr 28, 2018

A distinct rumble felt throughout one building at UMass Dartmouth on April 27 could have easily be mistaken for construction activity or shuffling, but it was all for an art project highlighting the building.

José Rivera and Michael Rosenstein turned Paul Rudolph’s architecture into sound for Sonic Section Perspectives, which celebrated the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s architect.

Sonic Section Perspectives was a one-hour environmental sound performance using noise made from and throughout the university’s Center for Visual and Performing Arts building. Inside the atrium, students, faculty and community members gathered to listen to the performance.

As the sounds filled the atrium it was almost as if the whole building was vibrating. While working on his section of the scale, Rivera was also taking vibrations from the building and adapting them into the mix.

Broken down, the scale is made up of 12 segments of noise and six sections of silence totaling 40 minutes and 20 minutes respectively. The sounds come from recordings of spaces at different buildings Rudolph designed in the area.

Chris Grimley, a partner at the firm over,under and author of Heroic: Concrete Architecture and the New Boston, opened the event by speaking about Rudolph’s brutalist design.

“I think it’s awesome that students and faculty are really embracing the buildings of Rudolph and using them as kind of the beginning, starting, jumping off points for creative processes,” Grimley said.

For art major Jenna Ruel the uniqueness of the event is what attracted her to it.

”I’d say it’s a pretty interesting noise,” Ruel said. “To use the vibrations of the CVPA building and I don’t know what they do to it, but to make it sound like this is pretty cool.”

The event was part of a two week celebration honoring the architect and his brutalist style.