As part of my recent visit to Grand Rapids, Michigan, we took a 2-day road trip to northern Michigan. It was just me, my dear friend Mark, and a new friend Felip. We explored the Sleeping Bear Dunes, Traverse City, countless wineries and cider shops, and perhaps most interesting, a piece of real estate for sale known globally as The Symphonic House.
The house was incredible. The house was beautiful. The house was unique.
It was constructed with countless forms of recycled wood, glass, and metal, and was simply wonderful to experience. Every room was built to serve a function. Certain windows were designed to catch the sounds of the wind through the nearby pine trees. Others were designed to echo the gentle sounds of the waves from Lake Michigan. The back steps of the house led to the private beach, a lagoon-like cove of the Great Lake. The house was only 6,200 square feet. It may seem large, but not with a price tag of roughly $4.5 million. The costs were due to the house being an architectural dream.
Beyond all of that, the most fascinating part of the house was that it was built to be playable. I know it sounds a little crazy. Essentially the architect had installed various sets of brass strings roughly 30 feet in length in various rooms. The most prominent ones were accessible from the second story and ran over the main living room area. They were attached along two structural trusses in the house with wooden sound boxes set behind them to catch resonating strings. With rosin-laden gloves, the house could literally be played.
And how could I not?
Even better is that we had the added benefit of getting a personal "behind-the-scenes" tour of the architecture from the architect himself, David Hanawalt. Mark had spoken with him a few days earlier and managed to set it up. It was a truly unique experience for all of us!