Tidal Resonance Chamber - CODAworx

Tidal Resonance Chamber

Client: City of Tacoma

Location: Tacoma, WA, United States

Completion date: 2010

Artwork budget: $197,000

Project Team


Robert Horner

Pi R Squared

Rammed Earth Builder

Bly Windstorm

Earthdwell ltd


The Tidal Resonance Chamber at the LEED Platinum Center for Urban Waters, located in Tacoma, Washington is primarily focused on promoting human synchronization with the natural rhythms of the Puget Sound. As the research and analysis facility is dedicated to protecting the delicate ecosystem of the Puget Sound from industrialization, the chamber serves as an instrument to harmonize users of the facility to the rhythms of nature. Basing a submersible pump and sensors inside the chamber and on the adjacent dock, the chamber advances and recedes in unison with the tidal conditions of Commencement Bay. ,The project harbors a multitude of species specific to the large estuary of the Puget Sound as the flushing and filling brings small lifeforms.


The project is an experiment on human perception and nature, while also serving as conduit for the development of sustainable construction techniques. Constructed primarily of fortified Rammed-Earth, the chamber’s earthen walls become the frame and instrument in which shifting water and sunlight are gauged. Visitors are provided a singular monolithic bench in which to sit and engage the interior dynamics of the chamber. The thick walls provide a buffer from the heavy industrial sounds of the Port of Tacoma, creating a peaceful and meditative space. The Chamber fills and drains in unison with the shifting tidal body of water adjacent to the site.


Visitors to the Center for Urban Waters, as well as researchers for the University of Washington/Tacoma and the City of Tacoma are invited into the chamber along an aluminum bar-grating platform, which hovers over the shifting water. Brought along side various glass vessels displaying filled with water that distort the view from the outside. Within the chamber individuals are positioned across from a glass display wall casting light upon the water that dances below their feet. Depending on the position of the sun and the moon, the chamber is filled or drained, revealing or hiding the life that has been seeded by the brackish water.

Additional Information

Situated along side various oil-refineries and lumber mills, the Center for Urban Waters is focused on establishing the seeds for sensible and sustainable industrial practices in Commencement Bay. The Tidal Resonance Chamber aims at providing a harbor for the contemplation and reflection on the manner in which human beings have utilized and manipulated the natural environment. The Chamber serves as an instrument in aligning and synchronizing human perception to the natural rhythms of the earth, by way of the tides.