Compositional Living

Adaptive Reuse


“It doesn’t exist in time. I’ve taken sound out of time and made it into an entity.”

~ Max Neuhaus, on Times Square (1977)

The George C. Arnold building is a three story, 3,500 square foot building located in Downtown Providence. At 12.5 feet wide, it is one of the narrowest buildings in the downtown area.

The building sits in an aurally dynamic environment; its north facade is subject to the cacophony of a busy streetscape, while its opposite face experiences a relatively quieter climate. Uniquely positioned as a threshold between these contrasting domains, the George C. Arnold Building has the potential to contribute to the urban soundscape in which it resides.

Designed as a co-residency and incubator for promising, young musicians, the George C. Arnold building becomes an unintentional instrument in an urban symphony. Personal practice rooms, outdoor terraces, a recital hall, a recording studio, and a speakeasy; together, the sounds of music will be heard emanating from every corner of the building. In the vein of John Cage’s 4:33, those walking by will be subjected to an impromptu performance, varying throughout the day. No performance is ever the same.

Utilizing the building’s exisiting structure and proportions, a grid system was established to determine the intervention’s undulating form. The building’s narrow footprint was copied, partitioned into seven sections, and divided into a matrix, which became the “manuscript” upon which to compose the intervention. The rhythmic push and pull of the intervention creates a dynamic southern facade that allows each musician to interact with their neighbor as well as the outside world. Outdoor terraces function as stages where musicians can practice or hold an impromptu outdoor performance for unsuspecting pedestrians.