As much as changes in temperature and wind erode natural landscapes over time, they alter our perception of urban features as well

Both, variations of ambient light and temperature can alter our mood, and hence ultimately, our perception of space as much as they erode and shape the landscape itself.

By focusing on these basic and subjective aspects of our perception of space, these site-specific sculptures reconcile digital readout and real experience into something reminiscent of the shapes eroded by nature. The sculptures offer an alternative vision of such spaces, investigating the unique qualities of each one, as well as the relationships they establish with their environment.

Experiencing the world through numbers

Although it seems obvious, we dismiss the fact that under the same circumstances different parts of a building will offer a completely different experience: while in the front it could feel warm and sunny, in the back it could be dark and cold. But it’s not that simple, it all depends on how light reaches you and how the wind moves through the building. Even more, not just the building but also its surrounding: ie. the supposed to be dark-backyard actually could be brighter than the front facade due to all of the reflections from the glass on the surrounding buildings, while the building on the other side of the street casts its shadow on the front facade.

Such short-distance location-specific circumstances change during the day, making the whole experience as complex as our perception is subtle.

Created by the accumulation of hundreds of pieces whose shapes are based on the architecture of the building itself and environmental data, each piece is a data visualization graph in itself. Stacked, the sculpture becomes a timeline (sunrise at the base of the sculpture and dusk at its upper end), while the changes in its perimeter correspond to the data variations collected by a few dozens logging devices (distributed on the perimeter of the building for a short period of time).

Getting the data

Using tailor-made logging devices, temperature and light values are collected, synchronously, around the perimeter of a given architecture for several days (weeding out random weather behaviors, and focusing on recurring events based on the architecture itself and its surroundings).

The data reveals the changes to which such space is subjected to over time, but also which parameters control its subtle variations depending on your specific location. Architectural factors (orientation of each of its facades, height, corridors, courtyards, etc.) are taken into consideration during data interpretation, establishing a precise correlation between the changes in its lighting ratio and cloud movements, or temperature changes due to air currents.

Shaping the sculpture

The initial form (based on the building’s plan view) is associated to the changes occurring at each point on the building’s perimeter, so that each subtle data change causes an equivalent subtle change in the sculpture’s perimeter (and then a new layer is added to its height).
Hundreds of layers are shaped and piled together reflecting these changes in the building’s perimeter over time, while the vertical axis becomes a timeline.

The sculptures are a representation of the building that we perceive and experience, how it reacts to the environment in which it is located (following an aesthetic close to the results of erosion), in confrontation with our visual perception of it.
Malleable, without fixed shape, you can twist and alter the shape of the sculptures and yet, each of its layers still corresponds to a precise and analytical overview of the situation at a particular moment.

Artificial yet natural

But compared to the analytical study of the information from which they originate, the accumulation of all its layers creates an interpretation of the data beyond analytical visualization. In the same manner that your perception of the space is unique and ever-changing, the sculptures are malleable, allowing you to slightly rotate the layers. Each layer still true to its data, but as a group, minor tweaks to hundreds of layers can shape a completely different form.

They become a volume of subjective form which we can relate to based on our own senses, equally malleable. They distill an experience from the data, rather than just offering a fixed visualization. If each person has a different experience of the building they represent, the experience of the sculpture should be equally unique and malleable.

Strata sculptures are available in editionas as well as on commission for unique site-specific pieces.


  • 2014

Thanks to

  • Nora Mayr
  • Blanca Montalvo
  • Beltrán Berrocal

Awarded by

  • Fundación Zaragoza Conocimiento + Ars Electronica
  • The Gabarron

Commissioned by

  • Palacio de Orive
  • Casa de Baños de Puertollano
  • Bitkom

Collection of

  • IAJ
  • Fundación Escultor Berrocal
  • Fundación Murcia Futuro
  • Bitkom