Gastown steam clock

This clock produces a whistled version of the Westminster Chimes.

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The World’s first steam powered clock has been created for the enjoyment of everyone

From the plaque on the clock

The Westminster Chimes ringing out from Big Ben is a familiar sound. A breathy version of the same tune is also played by this clock. The notes are created by steam being forced through whistles.  Built in 1977, the whistles are driven from the system of underground pipes that supply steam to heat downtown buildings.

Location

305 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B9, Canada. Best heard on the hour.

There are other similar steam clocks in The City of Otaru, Japan, and the Indiana State Museum.

Credits

Photo: By Leonard G.

Tilted Spheres

Richard Serra’s giant concave artworks can produce an astonishing diversity of sounds.

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I stumbled across this Richard Serra sculpture when flying back from Tononto Airport. Clapping is one way of exploring the space, it’s like having a giant sound-effects unit to play with. Get the right place, and the focused reflections from the arcs follow repetative patterns creating Gatling gun echoes.

The start of this video nicely shows off the effects of clapping

It’s also fun to listen out for people with noisy roller suitcases walking down the middle. What’s nice about this sculpture is being outside a gallery means the public can play with the sound. Here is a spot of impromptu singing exploiting the acoustic.

Location

Pearson Airport. Terminal 1, after security, International departures, hammerhead F.

Credits

Photo: By Ken Mist from Brampton, Canada – Tilted Spheres, CC BY-SA 2.0