An instrument, a playground, a theatre, a stage, a museum, a sculpture, a room.
SoundYard was conceived as a piece of societal infrastructure offered to the city as a place to gather around and gather within. Designed to encourage collaborative interaction of play, performance, and learning.
Inspiration was drawn from the industrial nostalgia of Belfast’s docklands, the vibrancy of a bygone era. It is located at the edge of the River Lagan in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. The site offered an opportunity to connect the edges of the city, forming a visual and sonic interaction across the city’s river.
Tones generated by SoundYard mimic the legacy of striking, hammering and riveting metal. The sounds float in the air, engaging the senses with imagery of the shipyards that once defined the city. The subtle resonance of sounds offers a nod to the rich industrial past, creating a sense of curiosity and joy for those playing within.
The installation is formed by a constellation of 500 metal rods which appear seamlessly hung from a mirrored steel soffit. The structure is supported by 16 slender pilotis that gently ground the installation. The outer veil creates a visual mirage reflecting and blending the tones of its environment and sky whilst the inner array of rods are left in their raw weathered state, signalling the transition from elevation to instrument. Movement sensors allow users to engage and activate a system of mallets which strike the suspended rods in varying sequences.
The installation's composition appears light and ethereal; a filigree of metalwork. The arrangement of the metal rods forms a concaving room, held in the centre by an oculus open to the sky. A new room is offered to the city, a theatrical space to house memory. A place to perform. An amphitheatre within Belfast’s maritime landscape.