Aural Observations 4: Sea Organ

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Truly great architecture exists as a product of its environment. The criteria of which a building should be judged against; is not only in its ability to enhance the landscape in which it is situated, but to physically transform and enhance our relationship to, and experience of a place. 

Off the coast of Croatia lies a truly stunning architectural construction that creates a seamless synthesis between the modern city and nature. Built on the Zadar coast of Croatia, the area experienced heavy destruction during the second world war and has since seen a gradual re-development of the city. Designed by the architect Nikola Basic, the ‘Sea Organ’ as it has become affectionately known, is a jetty stretching more than 70 metres along the coast.

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Consulting with Engineers, Craftsman, and even a Professor of Music, the installation consists of more than 35 polythene tubes set into a series of concrete steps descending into the sea. The tubes, varying in diameter, each house a whistle at one end – each tuned to play 7 chords of 5 different tones.

As air and wind enter the spaces of the jetty at varying speeds, the result is an architectural sound installation that plays a symphony of the sea, providing a fitting accompaniment to the stunning views over the Adriatic sea.

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