If you find yourself on the north end of town in San Francisco, follow the coast east from the Golden Gate Bridge, just passed Presidio Beach, and you will come to a small spit of land that juts out into the bay. Follow the stone-lined road passed St. Francis and Golden Gate Yacht Club, and you will find yourself surrounded by water and stone ruins. You have located San Francisco’s Wave Organ – defined on the Exploratorium website as, “a wave-activated acoustic sculpture.”

The piece was conceived by Peter Richards and installed with sculptor and master stone mason George Gonzalez. There was first a prototype assemble for the 1981 New Music Festival. The prototype generated a buzz, making it possible to install the piece we see today. Work began in September of 1985 and concluded in May of 1986. Construction materials include recycled cemetery stone, old city curbs, poured concrete, and 25 Dr. Seuss-like “organ pipes” made from PVC.

Personally, I enjoyed the challenge in finding The Wave Organ, and once we were there, I appreciated how the instrument forced me to slow down, adjust my senses, and be in the moment. Click on the link below to hear The Wave Organ in action as you browse the photographs.


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