The Architecture of Sound

Hawksmoor churches, floorplans, cymatic patterns of the resonant frequencies of each church carved onto stone glyphs

Harris employed the architecture of Nicholas Hawksmoor as an instrument to explore the relationship between sound and geometry within form. To investigate this concept, she recorded the resonant frequency of four Hawksmoor churches. Inspired by a technique discovered by Alvin Lucier, Harris recorded the silence of each church and played this recording back into the church while re-recording and repeated this process until the resonant frequencies of the church became audible.

The concept of architecture as frozen music and music as liquid architecture, first formulated by Goethe in XIX century, encapsulates the essence of this project. It describes how music and architecture employ the golden ratio; the geometric blueprint evident throughout nature, to express harmony.

The study of cymatics reveals that sound vibrations excite matter into geometric forms, which coincide with the golden ratio. By placing water inside a loudspeaker, she discovered the hidden geometry of these resonant frequencies, hence translating sound into liquid architecture. Watching a cymatics experiment makes it possible to see that everything oscillates, vibrates, and undulates in nature, which orchestrates geometries found throughout the natural world. Harris engraved these sound glyphs onto stone tablets in an attempt to freeze the music of the architecture onto the very stone used to construct Hawksmoor’s buildings. This project aims to provoke new insights into the subtle vibrations through which all life manifests itself.

Recording the resonant frequency St. Anne’s church using a method discovered by Alvin Lucier, Tanya Harris, London, 2013

Kymatica, hand-made cymatic device, 450 watt mono amplifier powers 15″ sub woofer speaker which is vacuum-formed with thin plastic allowing water to be vibrated with sound, 2013


Resonance and Recapitulation, Ormston House Gallery, Limerick, 2015

Selected press:

The Architecture of Sound, E-Squared Magazine, Issue 1, Rhode Island, US, 2016

Pioneer Works In Print, New York, 2016

Space Form Matter Appear Fixed, Synaptic stimuli, online journal, Hawaii , 2015


Sound Vibrates Matter (in progress)

Consciousness Resides in Geometry, Courthouse Gallery, Ireland, 2018

The Ecology of a Multidimensional Landscape, Courthouse Gallery, 2016

Everything is a Result of Frequency, Fringe Arts Bath, UK, 2014

Echoing Resonance, BE OPEN Sound Portal, London, 2013