The Listening Building

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A concept devised by Larry Sider, Diane Sider and Mark Milton with architect Sandra Piesik

We start from the premise that to listen is a good thing. To listen is to connect, to share, to understand, to increase one’s awareness. Through listening people can learn to resolve their differences. Yet in a world saturated with images, careful listening is a dying skill.

The Listening Building is conceived as a transportable pop-up structure, creating a special social space for all ages where the act of listening is celebrated, nurtured and stimulated. Designed to be packed into a single container, the structure will be able to travel – from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, across the UK and even to other countries.

We can shut our eyes but we cannot shut our ears. In theory we are all listening all the time – but to what are we listening? How conscious are we of the sounds around us? Sound is a fundamental aspect of our existence yet it is often largely ignored. The purpose of The Listening Building is to create a continuum of education, learning and understanding through sound and listening. Wherever it is situated, we envisage that this space will span many different areas of activity from producing sound and music, to teaching listening and emotional intelligence skills to children, to audio ecology, to personal development. The building will invite people to explore sound and listening as a path to diverse perspectives on the world, creating and telling new stories and even sowing the seeds for sustainable peace.

The Listening Building is a radical scheme using ideas generated by the School of Sound C.I.C., 3Ideas Ltd. and Education4Peace. Using the most modern technology, universal design and ethical building principles, we aim to create a flexible space for workshops, educational programmes, counselling, performances and drop-in activities. The acoustics will be designed to create a place that works with sound, rather than be dominated by it. And the design can be adapted to include ancillary spaces such as a café or bookshop.

Once installed, The Listening Building will house a programme curated around five areas of delivery:

Arts and Entertainment


Sustainability, Ecology, Nature

Youth – inner city challenges

War and Peace – reconciliation




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3Ideas Ltd. is a consultancy specialising in architecture, design and cultural research led by Sandra Piesik. The consultancy was created in response to the need to preserve regional cultures, which are fast disappearing under the pressures of globalisation.



Education4Peace is a respected Swiss non-profit foundation, led by Mark Milton, dedicated to advocating and supporting emotional health programmes in schools and sports, focusing on listening skills and empathy, to ensure peace, non-violence and wellbeing become priorities in children’s education.







The School of Sound C.I.C. is an organisation promoting the understanding of sound in the arts and media. Through its seminars, workshops and biennial international symposium, it aims to create a higher awareness of the potential of sound – and listening – as it is used in screen production, performance and space.