Singing dunes is a phenomenon found exclusively in desert environments. “The sounds are produced when grains drum against one another; exciting elastic waves on the dune surface of the sand bed acts like the membrane of a loudspeaker.”The sounds resemble the beating of a drum or the noise of a low-flying jet. They can be heard up to 10 km away.

The skyscraper was designed by Barbara Leonardi and Oliver Dibrova as part of Hani Rashid Studio. The main inspiration was found in a phenomenon of singing dunes. Hypothetically located in Dubai, the project is a hybrid space, with diverse surfaces representing different programmatic conditions. A spiraled structure continues the public space and contains four plugged in hotel-units, which can act independent from each other and are specialized on diverse topics (business hotel, recreation hotel, sports hotel and city hotel).

The final configuration of the building is set upon through an experiment: a plate or drum is forced to vibrate historically with a violin bow or with a speaker. A fine sand or powder is sprinkled on the surface and allowed to settle. It sets at those non-vibrating parts of the surface, namely the nodes of vibration. Using an equation for the zeros of standing wave on square plate, different sound-files are extracted and used as input. They’re translated into frequency and amplitude, eventually generating a 3d structure.

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