Music Architecture


In Water Heavens, music can be seen and architecture can be heard.

The concept of “architecture music” stems from the human sentiment and feelings Tan Dun gathered from Shanghai’s water town Zhujiajiao: the water wheel, the ancient Yuan Jing Temple had great influence indeed.

Deeply moved by everything here, Tan Dun decided to restore and revitalize two old Ming Dynasty houses and combine their preservation with his innovative concept of “Architecture Music”. 

The performance hall’s structure is similar to that of a ancient two story house.  The wooden structure of the upper story reveals a Ming Dynasty style house; the iron pillars and steel floor of the lower story are reminiscent of an industrial space with a distinct German Bauhaus style. During the performance, the river flows in and out through the house, linking the interior and exterior space, thus symbolizing the purification of our spirit and soul.

The integration of this unique architectural structure with the performance, connects our inner selves with our surroundings, and brings the outer world in to meet our spirituality. The combination of the different Chinese Ming-house and German industrial Bauhaus styles, as well as the contrasting sounds of water, iron and other natural instruments completes this “architectural music” wonderland where heaven and man become one.