The Monoliths that captured the sound of planes in 1920s England, Piercarlo Quecchia

Italian-born photographer Piercarlo Quecchia – who now lives in Basel – made a series of incredible photographs in the summer of 2018.

The work is called Sound Mirrors and shows the last thirteen “mirrors” left all along the southeast and east coast of England.

“They represent an incredible demonstration of how sound can generate a physical form: both the radius of curvature and the dimensions of the parabolas are studied and designed according to the frequency of the sound they must reflect” – “I have always been fascinated from abandoned buildings, especially in the changing of their role according to the different historical period. “

said Quecchia on Dezeen

These objects have not only an aesthetic value, they in fact had a very specific function when they were installed in the period following the First World War. In fact, these are disk-shaped passive structures that are used to concentrate acoustic waves in order to intercept any planes heading towards the coast.

They were in effect the forerunners of radar, the technology that allowed England to resist the Nazi air raids during Operation Sea Lion.

Their shape and the non-random curve of these mirrors allow them (even today) to concentrate the sound in a single focal point, where an operator would listen. The dimensions were also studied on the basis of the sound waves generated by the planes.

Photo Copyright: Piercarlo Quecchia –

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