Claire L Cardwell in The Naked Architect, Architects and Technicians, Creative and Media Professionals Writer (The Naked Architect) • Blue Designs (+27 82 399 0180 / +27 66 232 3676 - WhatsApp) Nov 26, 2017 · 3 min read · 1.7K

Weird and Wonderful Buildings Part Three - Three Buildings that Make Music

Weird and Wonderful Buildings Part Three - Three Buildings that Make Music

Forget buildings that look like musical instruments - how about buildings that make their own music?  I came across the  Dresden's "Court of Water" House in Dresden's Kunshof Passage Collective  in my previous Bizarre Buildings post on buildings that look like musical instruments.  I was also intrigued by a sound installation by David Byrne of Talking Heads in London and the Silophone in Montreal, Canada.  

The Court of Water House is in the Courtyard of Elements and was designed by sculptor Annette Paul and Designers Christoph Rossner and Andre Tempel.  Annette Paul said that she was inspired by her home in St Petersburg where she would listen to the ‘rain theatre’ of the pipes outside her home.

The blue and green facade of the house has an intricate system of funnels and drains that amplify the sound of the rain.  Other installations in the Kunshof Passage include the Court of Mythical Creatures and the Court of Metamophosis.  The Courtyard of Elements also includes a yellow building representing light that has curved aluminium panels on it.

Here's a video of the Court of Water Building - it's not music as you know it, but I love it !

David Byrne from Talking Heads has taken things a step further.  He converts an entire building into a giant musical instrument.  Every pillar, structural beam and water pipe vibrate and resonate thus creating mesmerising sounds.  Every visitor can play the building via a wired piano.  Different methods are used to produce the sounds including hitting columns with metal rods, strapping vibrating motors to girders and blowing air through tubes.

Playing the Building originally appeared in  Färgfabriken, Stockholm, Sweden in 2005, then the concept was realised again in New York in the Battery Maritime Building in 2008, the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, London in 2009 and in Minneapolis at the Aria Building in 2012.

Play the Building in the Roundhouse

Here is a video of the Roundhouse Play the Building Installation :-

and another one of the installation in New York :-

and finally the Silophone in Montreal, Canada - it's the biggest echo instrument - you can even play it from the internet (link below).  The sonic installation is in an abandoned grain elevator - it's been converted a musical instrument by installing microphones and loudspeakers into four of the elevators empty grain storage chambers.

Over the phone or via the internet you can send the sound of your voice or choice echoing through the abandoned halls.  You can check it out here :-  (, telephone (+1.514.844.5555),

There are also sculptures and art installations that make music like the Singing Ringing Tree :-

The Singing Ringing Tree is a wind powered sound sculpture is in Burnley, Lancashire, England.  It was completed in 2006 and was designed by architects Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu of Tonkin Liu.  It's 3m high and consists of galvanised steel pipes which harness the wind to produce sound.  In 2017 a second Singing Ringing Tree was installed near Austin, Texas.

I also had to include a clip of the haunting sounds from the Sea Organ in Zadar, Croatia  :- 

It's also worth taking a look at the Musical Light Swings in Montreal, Canada and the Singing Bridge in Denmark.

Now Architecture and Music are not mutually exclusive!

I love Architecture. I think it's vital to talk about all aspects of Architecture - whether it be planning, construction, design or green building. I have written 3 E-Books & over 110 articles. Please feel free to let me know if you have any queries regarding architecture, planning & construction & I will assist you.

I am also The Naked Architect ....

I am originally from the UK and moved to South Africa in 1999.  I started Blue Designs in 2004 after working as a driver for Avalon Construction on a luxury home in the Featherbrook Estate.  In my spare time I am an artist and writer.

Call Claire - 011 025 4458

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Other articles I have written include :-

Bizarre Buildings Part Three - Fancy a Tune Anyone?

World's Tallest Sandcastles

Weird and Wonderful Buildings Part 1 - The Dynamic Tower

Cape Dutch Guest House

How Does my Design Process Work?

Building Green - Here are some Tips

If I was a bebee marketing person what would I do?

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Claire L Cardwell Dec 6, 2018 · #21

#19 @Paul Walters - wouldn't it be amazing if we could hold our own concert in one of those old yards - I love Yard 2 at Fereiras in Honeydew. I was in Yard 1 the other day and the woodworking work shop. I think I will take my camera with on my next expedition!

Claire L Cardwell Dec 6, 2018 · #20

#17 @Luiz Henrique Souza .E. - I love going into old factories and hardware stores, often I have a small stick in my hand - I love giving those lovely old copper pipes a tap!

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Paul Walters Dec 5, 2018 · #19

Really cool piece...thanks

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Chris 🐝 Guest Dec 4, 2018 · #18

Interesting - thanks for these insights @Claire L Cardwell

Lüiz Enrique Dec 4, 2018 · #17

Amazing! Is the first time that i've seen something like that! Wonderful. Very auspicious!

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Claire L Cardwell Nov 28, 2017 · #15

Thanks for the share @Lada 🏡 Prkic !

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Claire L Cardwell Nov 28, 2017 · #14

Thanks for the share @🐝 Fatima G. Williams !