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Student-Designed Sound Installation Wins German Design Award

According to the Jury of aed neuland: Doppelgänger “is characterized by intelligent reduction: while worldwide communication with sound and image is possible with FaceTime, ‘Doppelgänger’ is limited only to the noise of our foot-steps…And while design in public spaces vies for attention with visual volume, Doppelgänger restricts itself to a simple frame that toys with transparency, light and shadow.” Photo by Jan Poneß

“Doppelgänger,” the joint master’s thesis of Nima Vakili (MArch/MFA ‘15), Vincent Krause and Jan Poneß, has recently been announced as a first-prize winner in the aed neuland German design competition.

The students, enrolled in the International Media Architecture Masters Studies Program offered through UB and Bauhaus-Universität Weimar in Germany, took home first place in the Exhibition and Public Design category for their interactive sound installation.

An “acoustic portal,” Doppelgänger is formed of two identical tunnels telematically linked. A set of 16 microphones and 16 speakers is placed in each tunnel, recording the sounds of footfall and playing them back in real-time into the other tunnel. The structures may be installed in different parts of the world (originally Weimar and Buffalo), providing a fascinating, yet limited, mode of communication. 

Vakili, Krause and Poneß developed their research under the advisement of Mark Shepard, associate professor of architecture and media studies at UB. The Doppelgänger installation was exhibited at Media Architecture Biennale 2014 in Aarhus, Denmark, as well as at Bauhaus Universität Weimar’s “summaery2014” and at the Buffalo School this past November.