Cool Spaces

Cool Spaces

Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia

A new TV show about architecture called Cool Spaces airs on PBS next year. We recently hosted Tod Williams and Billie Tsien and Cool Spaces host Stephen Chung while they filmed an interview about the Barnes Foundation’s new building. 

On filming day, the architects took the host and film crew all over the building. It was particularly interesting when we filmed inside the light box which sits atop the building. The light box filters natural light down into the airy Annenberg Court during the day and emits light at night, acting as a landmark beacon on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Todd Williams and Billie Tsien on camera

The space inside the light box is much larger than I had expected it to be, and I was surprised that we could hear every word of conversations going on in the courtyard below as if we were no distance away at all. The shape of the opening somehow carries the sound from below and focuses it very clearly. I’m no scientist, but since both light and sound are waves, it makes sense to me that if the box is designed to facilitate the travel of light, that sound would also be focused.

Tod Williams and Billie Tsien on camera

Cool Spaces goes on air in April 2014 on your local PBS station, when you can hear Tod and Billie explain the concept and execution of the Parkway building, and see the light box and other behind-the-scenes spaces.

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