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“Touch My Building” is a series in Janney’s “Urban Musical Instruments” that activates a building facade and literally allows the pedestrian to “play” the building. In his work to dissolve “urban alienation,” Janney strives to bring the scale of the building to the scale of the pedestrian. With his signature hand-print access point inviting the passers-by to engage, this series of permanent and touring works feels like the building is almost reaching right out, asking to be touched.

Touch My Building
Charlotte, NC
1998, 7th Street Station Parking Garage

In Touch My Building, the entire facade of the Bank of America’s 7th Street Parking Deck is transformed by two principle visual elements. The first addresses the scale of the building—a syncopated pattern of 416 colored panels painted in custom automobile colors create a lively dynamic surface over the nine-story facade. Natural light is used with colored glass in both the stair tower and the cornice, creating strong graphic forms.

touch-my-buildingThe second element addresses the scale of the pedestrian—thirty-six 30 foot tall “light fins” are placed around the building. When touched, a fin lights up and emanates a mix of melodic tones. In addition to this random play, the entire building “performs” on the hour, triggering ever-changing patterns of light and sound. Occassionally a “ghost” residing in the building “plays” the piece at whim. If the curious pedestrian can find the riddle on the building, decipher it and play the pattern stated, the “ghost” will also respond.


Touch My Building: CfA 2007

As part of an exhibition on Christopher Janney’s work and celebration of his “Architecture of the Air” book, the Center for Architecture in New York commissioned Janney to create a site-specific installation of “Touch My Building” on their facade. The piece was composed of six touch sensors with lights, sound-score and text. As person stepped up and touched a hand-print on the glass facade, he was immersed in one of Janney’s melodic/environmental sound compositions while reading series of quotes on creativity from notable architects, artists and musicians. Another example of Janney’s “synaesthetic” philosophy.


Touch My Building: Miami 2011

At the December, 2011 Art/ Basil Miami/Design Miami Art Fair, the Miami Art in Public Places Commission unveiled Christopher Janney’s “Harmonic Convergence” permanent installation at the Miami International Airport. As part of this week-long celebration, there was a retrospective exhibition and performances of Janney’s work at the Moore Building on downtown Miami. With the fair attracting over 100,000 people, Janney’s “Touch My Building: Miami” was a fitting introduction to what was happening inside. Similar to other TMB installations, as people stepped up and touched a hand-print on the glass facade, they were immersed in one of Janney’s melodic/environmental sound compositions while reading series of quotes on creativity from notable poets, artists and musicians.

Project credits:

Charlotte/Mecklenberg Arts and Science Council, Jennifer Murphy, Project Manager/Joy McLaughlin, Dave O’Brien,

Pete Dorson

Project sponsors:

Apple Computer, Cambridge Soundworks, AKAI Corporation, Mystic Scenic Studios