CCT: AIPS profile - B&M.Buchen

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Bill and Mary Buchen
{Aeolian Garden}
Aeolian Garden
plants, water, architectural fragments
campus entrance
Central to the scheme of this garden is the integration of an aeolian (wind) harp within the stone fountain.  In Greek mythology, fountains are the chalice of the gods, the source of eternal elixir.  The harp within the fountain unities the vessel with the Greek wind god Aeolus. The harp shimmers in the sunlight and generates music in the wind. 
Below is further information about the artwork, Aeolian Garden, located at the UConn Avery Point campus.
Written by Bill and Mary Buchen

Aeolian Garden is an environmental installation sited in the entry circle of the University of Connecticut campus at Avery Point.


Central to the design scheme is the relocation of stone artifacts from the Branford estate to the entry circle including the stone fountain and coping, two columns and smaller stones from the estate buildings which had been dismantled. These stones and landscaping were incorporated into the design as recollections of the estate’s former grandeur.


Configured in organic formations, the stonework references the contextual displacement of the elements of the original estate buildings and gardens. Tree plantings, shrubs and flowering plants offer shade and a garden setting.


A new concrete lintel was fabricated for the columns to replace the existing one which was structurally unsound.


The Aeolian (wind) harp is fabricated from a reinforced stainless steel ring inset within the rim of the fountain basin with a central support rod. Wires in a conical formation span from the ring perimeter to the central rod. In Greek mythology, fountains are the chalice of the gods, the source of eternal elixir. Creating an Aeolian harp within the fountain unites this vessel with the Greek wind god Aeolius. Fabricated of stainless steel, the Aeolian harp shimmers in the sunlight and generates the music of the wind. These musical sounds ameliorate traffic noise and attune the eyes and ears to the natural beauty of the site.


Description of Aeolian Harps

When an Aeolian harp string is activated by the wind, the fundamental is never sounded, only the overtone series. Wind velocity is directly related to the pitch heard by the listener; the greater the wind speed, the higher the activated overtone. The resulting tones have a shimmering, ringing quality. In accordance with the laws of fluid dynamics, when air flows past a cylinder (in this case, a string), it sheds vortices to either side. These are shed alternatingly in a stable and regularly repeating pattern. When the frequency of this oscillation matches the frequency to which the string is tuned, and Aeolian tone will result. The string always vibrates in a direction perpendicular to the wind.


{Bell Garden}
Bell Garden
bronze, steel, prismatic glass, stone aggregate
outside the entrance to the Support Building
Bell Garden is a living laborabory for the natural sciences. The Buchen's intent is to empower youth at Long Lane with the art of music, the magic of natural phenomena and enhanced perceptions of the environmental world around them.
{Bell Garden}

Artists Bill & Mary Buchen have created Bell Garden at the Connecticut Juvenile Training School in Middletown, CT.  The artwork addresses both the landscape and soundscape of the campus.  Bell Garden is an interactive learning environment for investigating natural phenomena and music.  Within it are courtyard areas for study and play, environmental sculptures and a garden setting. 

Bell Flower Garden

Garden plantings feature flowers with names or forms referring to bells, such as: Campanulas (the Latin name for bell), Yucca and Coral Bells Boomerang Seat among others.  Tended by the youth as part of the horticulture curriculum, the garden connects an aesthetic appreciation of nature with their role as its caretakers.  In addition to flowers, other plantings incorporated into the garden design include foliage plants, grasses and evergreen plantings to offer year round color and interest. 

Wind Reeds / Bell Trees   

Small bells hanging from the curved ‘branches’ of the four stainless steel ‘trees’ are played by the wind.

Science Garden

Within the square courtyard a Sundial and Star Sphere provide tools for studying the sun’s movement and the night sky.  The Star Sphere depicts major constellations through perforations illuminated from the interior at night and are also readable by day.  The Sundial is technically a heliochronometer which is easily read; the most accurate type of sundial; and tells Standard Time.  A curved offers additional seating and refers to the thermal gliding of birds visible from the site and the science of flight.  The tiled tables and seats can be used for playing chess or checkers or having lunch.

Music Garden

An array of nine bronze drums in the circular paved courtyard serve dual purpose as tables and seats plus instruments for communal music making.  Three conga-shaped drums are played from a standing position.  Radiating paving circles replicate patterns of sound waves. 


The carillon is programmed to strike on the hour between 7am and 7pm by playing the number of bell tones denoting the time.  In addition, a programmable system located n the chapel allows students and staff to compose and play music on a keyboard unit.  Music played by the carillon is selected by the school staff.  When programmed, students and staff compositions may be heard 2 minutes after every hour.


The bell was relocated from the Long Lane School bell tower.  It was made by Henry Mcshane & Company, Baltimore Maryland in 1885 and the inscription reads, “Long Lane Industrial School, Middletown, Connecticut” it is a priceless sonic and visual artifact of the history of Long Lane and can be played by giving the bell a push until the clapper strikes.