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The Wave Organ is an acoustic sculpture on a jetty in the Bay of San Francisco. Peter Richards has created the design and built it along with master stone mason George González. The work was influenced by the sound recordings by artist Bill Fontana, which came out of a floating concrete dock vent tube in Sydney , Australia.


The National Endowment for the Arts granted Richards (senior artist at the Exploratorium for several years) to carry out a comprehensive period of study of the physicality of the Wave Organ Phenomenon in 1980.


The New Music '81 Festival featured a project constructed on the same site. It generated excitement and support for a permanent piece of work, albeit quite rudimentary.


Frank Oppenheimer, Founding Director of the Exploratory, started to obtain licenses and fundraising shortly afterwards, but construction only commenced in September 1985 seven months after the death of Oppenheimer. In May 1986, the Wave Organ was completed and in June it was dedicated to Frank Oppenheimer 's memory.


The Wave Organ is situated on a jetty in the Marina district of San Francisco, which forms the small boat harbour. The jetty itself was built from a demolished graveyard, offering a spectacular selection of graven granite and marble that was used to create the piece. It comprises 25 PVC and concrete organ pipes located at different heights within the site which enable the tides to develop and fall. The effect of waves on the ends of the pipe and the subsequent movement of the water through and outside pipes creates sound.

Check out our list of the Top 9 San Francisco Hidden Gems. We introduce more information about each on the following pages:  

  • Sutro Baths Ruins and Cave

  • Land's End Labyrinth

  • The Wave Organ

  • The Vulcan Stairs

  • Yerba Buena Garden Sculptures

  • Seward Mini Park

  • Telegraph Hill Parrots

  • Musee Mecanique

  • Angel Island State Park

All of these wonderful locations are located just a short drive from our location near Downtown Walnut Creek, California on Locust Street. Stop by for a visit anytime!

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