Four Birds - Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Four Birds

Steven Holl & Raphael Mostel
Maple hardwood
30 in. × 14 in. (diameter)
Washington Avenue Entrance

Architect Steven Holl’s and composer Raphael Mostel’s Four Birds is inspired by the first composition of French composer Olivier Messiaen, “Le Merle Noir” (Blackbird). This piece of music was constructed from birdsong, a major part of Messiaen’s thinking, using only four permutations. Made of maple hardwood and fabricated in the shop of Steven Holl Architects, Four Birds boasts four circular entrances within a larger cylinder. “Birdsong represented for Messiaen the ecstatic presence of the divine in the world,” Mostel explains.

  • Two photos of mature men

    Steven Holl (b. 1947, U.S.), architect, and Raphael Mostel, composer, have cotaught the internationally acclaimed senior advanced studio Architectonics of Music at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation since 2008. Holl and Mostel have worked together on a number of architectural projects, including the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University and Maggie’s Centre St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London.

    Artist website:
    Artist website:

Photo: Dita Pepe (left); courtesy of Raphael Mostel

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