Alexander Calder’s Flying Saucers


  • Jørgen Petersen Consulting Engineers Johs. Jørgensen A/S




Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing


One of Alexander Calder’s largest artworks can be found in Venezuela, at the University of Caracas. It is the result of a unique collaboration between an architect, an acoustician and an artist. The university’s great fan shaped auditorium, designed by Carlos Villanueva in 1953, proved to be acoustically problematic and the engineer therefore proposed a solution with interior claddings. This was rejected, however, because it would radically change the shape of the hall. Finally, Alexander Calder was approached. He came up with an innovative installation consisting of 30 reflectors shaped as flying saucers and suspended from the ceiling

How to Cite

Petersen, J. (2010). Alexander Calder’s Flying Saucers. Docomomo Journal, (42), 44–45.




Author Biography

Jørgen Petersen, Consulting Engineers Johs. Jørgensen A/S

(b. 1926), MSc in Engineering Acoustics, is joint owner of Consulting Engineers Johs. Jørgensen A/S. He was an associate professor in acoustics at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, from 1963 to 1996. He contributed to the acoustics in Laugardalshallen, Reykjavik, the concert hall at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, The Royal Danish Theatre and Tête Défense, Paris, among others. Jørgen Petersen is also the author of several books about acoustics.