The Singing Ringing Tree stands high above Burnley on the Pennine moors at Crown Point. A fenced track from the car park takes you maybe a half-mile to the actual structure. Somewhat eerily echoed by the wind farm in the distance.
Designed by architects Tonkin Liu and erected in 2006 it is a 3 meter high wind-powered sound sculpture, which looks like a windswept tree, constructed of galvanised steel pipes some of which have been cut and tuned with holes so they sing when the West wind blows to produce a slightly discordant and penetrating choral sound covering a range of several octaves.
Unfortunately there was no wind when I visited so I can’t tell you how it sounds.
It’s also called a Panopticon. This term is more usually associated with the design of circular buildings, especially prisons, where people can be observed from a central point.
It’s part of the series of four sculptures within the Panopticons arts and regeneration project created by the East Lancashire Environmental Arts Network (ELEAN).
The project was set up to erect a series of 21st-century landmarks, or Panopticons (structures providing a comprehensive view), across East Lancashire as symbols of the renaissance of the area.
In 2007, the sculpture won a National Award of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) for architectural excellence.