nikola basic: sea organ.

It’s always a thrill to come across a project so unique you don’t even know what to call it. I guess this would be a landscape architecture sonic sculpture. Or at least that’s what I’ve decided to classify it as. Whatever the name, this is one of the most achingly poetic and beautiful things I’ve ever seen. It’s the personification of nature, the song of the ocean played for human ears…


Designed by architect Nikola Basic and built in Zadar, Croatia, “Sea Organ” is a set of marble steps that descend into the sea. Built inside is a series of 35 calibrated steel tubes of various lengths and tilted and various angles. The movement of the waves pushes air through the tubes and into whistles; each whistle can create up to 7 different chords of five notes each. The pitch and colour of the music depends on the strength and flow of the waves, creating a rolling, organic melody that’s, I guess not surprisingly, reminiscent of whale song.

I almost can’t stand how beautiful this is. “Sea Organ” truly is a musical instrument being played by the sea…

Basic very-deservedly won the European Prize for Urban Public Space for this sublime project.


Via The Pompomist via NotCot


  1. well written, i totally totally totally agree with your every word, mind blowing

  2. grafulin says:

    The Greeting to the Sun

    After the world-known Sea Organs, Zadar has become wealthier with one more urban installation. On Istarska obala, at the very end of the Zadar peninsula, next to the famous Sea Organs, shines the Greeting to the Sun made by the same architect Nikola Bašić.

  3. I think this is brilliant. I live somewhere where no one knows what to do with the waterfront – what a solution!

    All of your posts are inspiring, but this one particularly stood out for me. Thank you.


  1. […] he’s best known for ‘sea organ’, a stunning piece of public architecture that harnesses the ebb and flow of the sea to create an organic musical composition. under the simple steps that lead into the water, there is a series of tubes which produce whistles as air is pushed through them with the coming and going of waves. there’s so much beauty in this simplicity, particularly because it’s a public space that encourages people to sit and contemplate the sea, whilst having an amplified experience of a natural phenomenon. more about the work can be found here. […]

  2. […] Video des Monats: Treppenstufen, die beim Betreten Töne erzeugen, gab es in der Stockholmer Metro, in Mailand und gibt es jetzt auch in Santiago de Chile. Unter den Marmorstufen am Adriaufer von Zadar in Kroatien liegt die Meeres-Orgel des Künstlers Nicola Bačiś. Der Wellenschlag treibt Luft durch Stahlröhren, die tönen (1, 2). […]

  3. […] Video of the month: steps miming musical scales that give off a sound when tread upon can be experienced in the Stockholm Underground, in Milan and now also in Santiago de Chile. Under the marble steps of Zadar on the banks of the Adriatic Sea lies a Sea Organ by Nicola Bačiś. The undulation of the waves causes air to be driven through the pipes thus creating a sound (1, 2). […]

  4. […] Vídeo do mês: Degraus de escada, que se pisados emitem sons, no metrô de Estocolmo, em Milão e agora também em Santiago do Chile. Sob os degraus de mármore das margens do rio Adria em Zadar, na Croácia, fica o órgão marinho do artista Nicola Bačiś. O golpe das ondas sopra ar por canos metálicos que fazem soar as notas musicais (1, 2). […]

  5. […] Nikola Basić: sea organ […]

  6. […] If you’re into this, check out the world-renowned outdoor installation of Antony Gormley and Nicola Basic’s amazing Sea Organ. […]

  7. […] post on Nikola Basic’s “Sea Organ” got quoted in an article called “400 Organs Thursday” by Li Robbins on the CBC blog. […]

  8. […] melodies.  These CDs were, after all, not very interactive.  However, when something like the Sea Organ comes along, I will stand up and take notice.  Not only is it a revitalization of the coastline in […]

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