Posts tagged with "Public Art":

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Waterfront installations brave the Toronto winter to "break the ice"

The third annual Ice Breakers Exhibition has returned to the Toronto’s downtown waterfront, dropping five public installations across the edge of Queens Quay West. Ice Breakers is a collaborative public art experience jointly presented by the temporary arts advancement nonprofit Winter Stations, Waterfront Business Improvement Area, and PortsToronto, the Toronto port authority. This year’s Ice Breakers presents four winning designs from a variety of international teams, as well as a student entry from Ryerson University. The theme for the 2019 exhibition was “Signal Transmission,” and appropriately enough, each installation evokes sending or receiving a message. All five of the public pavilions for Ice Breakers were installed on January 19 and will remain on display through February 24. Chroma Key Protest, from Andrew Edmundson, principal of the Toronto-based Solve Architects Inc, references the language of protest. Twenty-five wooden buoys have been clustered and given blank signboards in chroma key green, the same color used in green screens. By appropriating the mechanisms of protesting but leaving the “signs” a color that can be anything, Edmundson invites visitors to project their own grievances onto the installation. Stellar Spectra, from the Toronto-based duo of Rob Shostak and Dionisios Vriniotis, is split into two occupiable pavilions. Each captures and refracts starlight through the dozens of tubes that make up the structure of Stellar Spectra, flooding each of the “lighthouses” with warm and cool-colored light. Connector, from the Hamburg, Germany–based Alexandra Griess and Jorel Heid, at first glance resembles a jumble of wires. That’s intentional, as the designers sought to reference the birds’ nests of communication wires that arose at the beginning of long-distance transmissions. Each of the mouthpieces corresponds to another, but participants will have to hunt for the appropriate end if they want to have a conversation. Tweeta-Gate, from Eleni Papadimitriou and Stefanos Ziras, founders of the Athens, Greece–based Space Oddity Studios (SOS), invites visitors to embark on an audiovisual journey. The series of yellow gates, made from painted wood and joined by metal connectors, are cut into shapes reminiscent of architectural styles from all over the world. Each gate is adorned with bells that can be activated by passersby, or the sway of the wind and natural elements. Tripix, the student submission from Ryerson University, seems purpose-made for the Instagram crowd. The faceted, panelized structure uses a high-contrast color scheme, red-on-white, to draw attention to its central pillar. An appropriate scheme, considering the goal of the exhibition is to get Toronto residents off the couch and into the snow.
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Bauhaus bus will travel the world to celebrate the school's centennial

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus school by Walter Gropius, a bus modeled after the school’s historic workshop building in Dessau, Germany, will take to the streets worldwide. The miniature version of the modernist building, famous for its stark white volumes, enormous windows, and vertical Bauhaus signage on the narrow end, was designed by the Berlin-based Van Bo Le-Mentzel. Inside the 161-square-foot mobile apartment, dubbed Wohnmaschine (“living house” in German), an exhibition and workshop space will join a miniature reading room full of books about the history of the Bauhaus. The bus kicked off a 10-month-long worldwide tour on January 4 in Dessau outside of its full-size peer. The tour’s goal, according to design group SAVVY Contemporary, who is hosting a series of workshops and panels in the bus, will be to challenge the traditional colonialist narrative that has become intertwined with modernism. The Bauhaus bus and its associated lectures and shared learning are all part of SAVVY’s SPINNING TRIANGLES project, which aims to bring in design philosophies from areas of the world that have been traditionally marginalized. "We will face the relations of coloniality and design as well as its various visibilities and invisibilities," wrote SAVVY Contemporary in a statement. “For too long, practices and narratives from the global South have been kept at the periphery of the design discourse, been ignored altogether, or appropriated. This needs to change. And it can only do so if we start with new forms of learning and unlearning, that may perhaps actually be very old, but have certainly been overheard for far to[o] long.” From January 4 through January 22 the bus will be in Dessau, after which it will depart for Berlin. From January 24 through 27, the bus will be parked in the German capital to coincide with the opening of the 100 Years Bauhaus festival. After that, the mobile school will go abroad and land in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Through forums and dialogues with design professionals in Kinshasa, a view of a collective modernity will be established. Five “masters” will take back what they’ve learned from Kinshasa to SAVVY Contemporary’s Berlin office to educate 40 students on their findings from July 22 to August 18. The bus’s final destination is the Para Site art space in Hong Kong, where the findings from its past trips can be expanded on.
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The Berkowitz Contemporary Foundation reveals a tapering art space for Miami

Just in time for this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach (December 6 through 9) and Design Miami (December 5 through 9), the Miami-based firm Rene Gonzalez Architect (RGA) has released the first look at a new public art space for the nonprofit Berkowitz Contemporary Foundation (BCF). RGA was approached to design the space in 2017, and the BCF is looking to break ground on Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard between 26th Street and 26th Terrace in 2020. The dramatically cantilevering concrete arts space has been designed from the ground up with input from the artists whose work will be featured within, allowing RGA to carve out spaces that will specifically highlight those pieces. Once complete in 2023, the new building will create a permanent home for BCF’s collection. RGA has pulled most of the gallery’s mass off of the street level and onto the second story, where the building terminates with a double-height window. The three-story, 45-000-square-foot art space will hold 30,000 square feet of exhibition spaces. Rotating galleries for traveling installations and work from the permanent collection will be located on the second and third floors. Much of the building’s shape was driven in response to the needs of two massive works in particular. Richard Serra’s Passage of Time, a sinuous, 218-foot-long corten steel sculpture will be given a dedicated courtyard area between the building proper and the garden. The viewing area will be closed off by a street-facing glass wall, allowing pedestrians to look inside. The other work is James Turrell’s towering Aten Reign. The 80-foot-tall light installation, first unveiled at the Guggenheim in 2013, will be located at the end of its own transitional hallway to give visitors time to adjust to the lighting conditions. Aten Reign will be positioned within the building’s tallest section; a skylight will allow natural light to filter in through the top of the cone through five tiers of rings, each embedded with hidden LEDs. The end result is a free-floating “light tunnel” that creates an enclosure using only light. “I am honored to be working with the founder and board of BCF to design and realize its vision for a new landmark building in Miami,” wrote RGA founder Rene Gonzalez. “We have worked closely with the Foundation, as well as several of the artists in their collection, to design an immersive and contemplative building that will enhance the city’s cultural landscape.” The building will be free to enter and open to the public when the project is complete, furthering BCF’s goal of highlighting international contemporary art.
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The World's Fair Grounds in San Antonio gets a playful facelift courtesy of MIG

Some consider the most formative date in San Antonio's history to be the fall of the Alamo, while others believe it’s the day the World’s Fair took over the city for six months in 1968. It was just a dusty city before more than 6.3 million attended the HemisFair ’68. A few of the original structures built for the fair still exist on the 92 acres in the heart of downtown, and many of them were left unused for decades. In 2009, the San Antonio City Council established the Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation (HPARC) to revitalize a 37-acre new development, including a 4-acre park designed by MIG. The project’s name, Yanaguana Garden, comes from a folktale told by the Payaya Native Americans of a blue panther that chases a bird through the night sky. A drop that fell from its wings left the blue hole that came to be the source of San Antonio’s river. This fable inspired the mosaic tile benches, panther sculpture, murals, and a blue paved pathway that represents the river, which snakes through the entire site. HPARC’s mission for Yanaguana Garden was to bring both children and adults to the city center. MIG focused on placemaking, designing a public space with courtyards, greenery, artwork, and playscapes. The park features a winding promenade, partly covered by a vine-draped pergola, which leads to the central square with giant checkerboard paving by Pavestone Company. The entire park is illuminated by Lumascape street light fixtures and lined with Victor Stanley benches. MIG also installed an outdoor theater with a dedicated seating area, play equipment by Landscape Structures, and a splash pad water fountain by Vortex Aquatic Structures. In addition to the frolicsome furnishings, the landscape includes mature trees to provide shade. The saplings prevent soil run-off and help maintain proper irrigation year-round. This environmentally sustainable approach will also be applied by the organization to expand and improve the rest of what used to be the HemisFair World’s Fair Grounds. Yanaguana Garden at HemisFair The ’68 World’s Fair Grounds, San Antonio Landscape Architect: MIG Landscape Planting: Bender Wells Clark Design Lighting: Lumascape Playground Equipment: Landscape Structures, Corocord Splash Pad Water Wall: Vortex Aquatic Structures Custom Precast Spheres: Quickcrete Products Corp. Benches: Victor Stanley Paving: Pavestone Company Mosaic Glass Artist: Oscar Alvarado
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L.A.’s MOCA restages pointed Barbara Kruger mural in time for 2018 elections

Just in time for the Tuesday, November 6, 2018, midterm elections, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles is restaging Untitled (Questions), a graphic installation by Barbara Kruger from 1990 that asks nine pointed, politically-charged questions about today’s troubled cultural climate. In a press release accompanying the 30-foot by 191-foot mural, Kruger said, “I continue to try to address the issues of control, loyalty, hope, fear, and the uses and abuses of power." Kruger added, “It's both tragic and disappointing that this work, thirty years later, might still have some resonance." The public art installation was originally created amid the backdrop of George H.W. Bush’s conservative presidency and at a time when partisan debate in the United States and fears of an impending war with Iraq were at a fever pitch. The mural originally stood on the south wall of what was then known as the Temporary Contemporary (TC), an industrial structure designed by Albert C. Martin in 1940 that was repurposed in 1983 by Frank Gehry into a transitional home for the fledgling museum as its Arata Isozaki–designed Grand Avenue headquarters was under development. Isozaki’s museum was completed in 1986, but the TC has remained in use as an art exhibition space. Last week, the mural was re-installed along the northern wall of the building, which is now named for arts patron David Geffen. Describing the atmosphere surrounding the first installation of the mural, Kruger told The Los Angeles Times, “It was Bush 1 and everyone was wearing flags. And, omigod, the war. It was just horrific.” The mural reads:
WHO IS BEYOND THE LAW? WHO IS BOUGHT AND SOLD? WHO IS FREE TO CHOOSE? WHO DOES TIME? WHO FOLLOWS ORDERS? WHO SALUTES LONGEST? WHO PRAYS LOUDEST? WHO DIES FIRST? WHO LAUGHS LAST?
The mural represents the inaugural effort of MOCA’s new director Klaus Biesenbach, who was appointed earlier this year after the previous director Philippe Vergne stepped down.
Untitled (Questions) will be on view through the 2020 presidential election.
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Studio Cadena's Happy wins Van Alen's Flatiron Public Plaza Holiday competition

A shimmering yellow sculpture will pop against Manhattan's Flatiron building as its backdrop this holiday season, courtesy of Studio Cadena. As winners of the fifth annual Flatiron Public Plaza Holiday Design competition, Happy will be on display for visitors to enjoy in the North Flatiron Public Plaza starting November 19th. According to the architects, this temporary project is a “warm embrace” for the city in the colder winter months and is meant to make people smile. “Happy is both a figure and a place,” writes Studio Cadena. “In our otherwise bleak social and political context, this architectural installation aspires to carve a small yet more positive urban space.” Happy is shaped by 24 transparent vinyl screens hung from an open frame. Throughout the day it’s set to shimmer and reflect the light in the surrounding neighborhood. Towards the end of the day, it’s designed to cast colored shadows on the plaza sidewalk.  Studio Cadena’s design was one of seven other finalists chosen to submit proposals for an invite-only competition. Hosted each year by the Van Alen Institute and Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership, the projects are aimed to spread cheer and enliven the plaza. Other finalists include Agency—Agency, Brandt : Haferd, MODU, N H M D, Office III, P.R.O., and Wolfgang & Hite. Last year’s winner, Future Expansion, designed a semi-enclosure of metal tubes resembling a public pipe organ.
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Tony Oursler's Tear of The Cloud activates a Riverside ruin

In multimedia artist Tony Oursler’s site-specific installation Tear of The Cloud, commissioned by the Public Art Fund (PAF), five video projections converge onto the gantry of Manhattan's landmarked West 69th Street Transfer Bridge and its surroundings in Riverside Park. The images that unfold at the banks of the river comprise a nodal network of symbols, texts, and figures from both reality and myth to establish a vertiginous system of ideas and themes that illuminate the complex and still-evolving past of the Hudson River Valley. The histories and historiographies of this region have been a site of recurrent interest for Oursler since his first mature efforts in the early 1980s. Illuminated by a flowchart designed by the artist and displayed on one of the five projection booths that surround the gantry, the subjects of the video sequences range from the Headless Horseman to Timothy Leary, Morse code, the 19th-century utopian community Oneida, digital facial recognition technology, and the Manhattan Project. Approached from the south, dreamy music accompanies the crouched bodies of various youths crawling across the trusses slanting into the water. This soon gives way to the disembodied faces of various actors reciting characteristically enigmatic phrases written or found by the artist. To the right, a weeping willow gently bends toward the river, its swaying branches animating a montage of sequences projected onto its foliage. The primary structure of the bridge acts as the support for the most extensive section of the work, where a series of scenes describe the evolution of various systems of information distribution across the last few centuries. This theme is apt, as the bridge, which was built in 1911, once functioned as a dock that assisted the transfer of railroad cars to the barges that connected Manhattan to the Weehawken Yards in New Jersey. To the north of the structure, a projection onto the salty waters of the Hudson is visible—and audible—from the pier, providing deeper insight into some of the characters who inhabit the scenes projected onto the gantry. For example, we learn that Dexter and Sinister are the problematic names of a sailor colonist and a Lenape Native American, respectively, who uphold the 1915 official Seal of the City. The northern face of the gantry provides a portraiture-type space for some of the most primary characters in Oursler’s repertoire, including the figure that heads his flowchart: an anthropomorphic white horse head in the form of a knight chess piece. “Reprogram is everything,” she states, reciting a series of chess moves as her image slowly slips off the gantry’s supporting beams. Manifesting the flow of information through a site designed to aid the shipment of raw materials, Tear of The Cloud embodies the rhizomatic complexities of the present moment through the archival impulse that brings us the region’s past. Tear of The Cloud is on view Tuesday through Sunday from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in Riverside Park through October 31. The artist will discuss the work during a talk at The New School’s Tishman Auditorium on November 1.  
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Art on theMART turns Chicago's Merchandise Mart into an architectural canvas

Until the end of 2018, the façade of Chicago’s Merchandise Mart will become the world’s largest digital art projection, hosting the work of four artists for two hours each on Wednesday through Sunday evenings. Thirty-four projectors located across the Chicago River from The Mart, as the structure is informally called, will work in tandem to project images on the hulking façade of what was once the world's largest building. Art on theMART is a privately funded partnership with the City of Chicago, and marks the first time that a projection of this size is being used exclusively for a creative purpose. The project has no advertising backing or sponsorship, but includes a curatorial advisory board established to consult on all content. Additionally, a civic advisory committee allows communication between city agencies, stakeholders, and the public. Created by large-scale architectural projection mappers Obscura Digital, the technology that supports Art on theMART allows curators and artists to upload an image and select effects and filters, but leaves the software to process the image and slowly render and resolve it over the course of a customizable time period. The projector housing is built into the Chicago Riverwalk, and the projectors are individually calibrated to adjust the light and color over the structure’s façade—a complex combination of fenestration, vertical lines, and setbacks. Windows are masked out in the software, allowing activity to continue inside the building without light interruptions.
 
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Four artists have been tapped to show work until the end of the year. The opening program features a projection by artist Diana Thater, who has mixed together live footage of wild animals living near Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya. Zheng Chongbin’s work, Chimeric Landscape, will project expanding and contracting ink blots. Jason Salavon remixes art and design histories from Georgia O’Keefe to internet cat videos, and Jan Tichy will present Artes in Horto - Seven Gardens for Chicago. Completed in 1931 by Graham, Anderson, Probst and White for Marshall Field & Company, Merchandise Mart consolidated the Chicago department store’s 13 separate warehouses into one massive art deco structure on the north branch of the Chicago River and central to downtown. Jenny Holzer was the first artist to illuminate the building in 2008, when she projected a poem onto it during Art Chicago.
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Mexico City's public sculpture corridor is a broken dream worth saving

Soon after Mexico City was designated to host the 1968 Olympics, the idea of a year-long cultural program emerged—one which would come to shape the ethos of the games for years to come. Hinting at the Greek Olympics’ legacy, the Mexican Cultural Olympiad would deploy 20 cultural events and projects throughout the year while promoting a modern discourse of peace at a time when the cold war profoundly divided the world. As part of the program, the Polish-born, Mexican artist and architect Mathias Goeritz (who coined the concept of “Emotional Architecture” with Luis Barragán) proposed an ambitious public sculptures route integrated with the city as a way to respond to its rapid urbanization. La Ruta de la Amistad (or the Route of Friendship), as it was named, would offer new ways of navigating the capital while making art available to the masses and celebrating international dialogue. The proposal was received with great enthusiasm from the chair of the Mexican Olympic Organizing Committee, the influential architect Pedro Ramírez Vázquez. In the lead-up to the Olympics, a total of 22 sculptures were commissioned from 19 artists and architects, including the Uruguayan artist Gonzalo Fonseca, the French artist Olivier Seguin, the American sculptor Alexander Calder, and the Mexican sculptor Ángela Gurría. Goeritz’s curatorial brief was simple: All sculptures should be abstract, of monumental scale, and use concrete as their main material. The project would become the largest sculptural thoroughfare in the world, connecting Olympics venues across a distance of 11 miles—and a great source of pride for Mexico. However, a week and a half before the official start of the games, the route, like the rest of the Cultural Olympiad, was obscured by the Massacre of Tlatelolco, in which the Mexican military and the police killed at least 300 students and civilians protesting government repression and corruption. Politicians, used to controlling every aspect of Mexican society, showed little patience for the demonstrations, which they feared would damage their cherished reputation as Olympics hosts. For the government, the games had become a platform to project its progressive, modern ideals and to challenge the perception that it was a developing country. Fifty years on, the sculptures stand neglected, in a state of near decay, like the remnants of a broken dream. “In Mexico, the route isn’t seen as something important. Not for the people, nor the government,” lamented Luis Javier de la Torre, president of Patronato Ruta de la Amistad, as he toured us around its principal site, now overshadowed by the infamous Periferico, a dystopic, elevated highway crossing the city. The organization he cofounded in 1994 with Javier Ramírez Campuzano (the son of Ramírez Vázquez) is in charge of conserving the sculptures and promoting their legacy. Prior to this, the route was largely abandoned and subjected to vandalism. The Patronato was able to restore and relocate a number of pieces at risk of deterioration, creating a centralized location composed of 13 works between 2011 and 2013. To mark the Route’s 50th anniversary, the Patronato is launching a number of activities with partner organizations on a shoestring budget. The Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes is opening an exhibition about it this October, scheduled to coincide with Design Week Mexico (October 10 to 15). Meanwhile, the official program of World Design Capital Mexico City 2018 has incorporated educational projects to bring awareness to the route. “Its values live on,” argued de la Torre. So why does the route fail to receive the public interest and support it deserves? According to de la Torre, a combination of a conflicted sense of national identity, a lack of understanding, and the collective trauma of 1968 are responsible. “We don’t have a proper identity as a country,” he explained, nodding to Mexican poet Octavio Paz’s The Labyrinth of Solitude, a series of essays that discusses the existential tension between colonial and indigenous cultures in the country. “No one believed that as a society we were capable of running the Olympics in ways that would be replicated by others around the world,” he continued. Most important, the political turmoil associated with 1968 overbearingly shaped the country’s consciousness of that moment. “This is where the dream broke,” said Mexican architect Frida Escobedo, this year’s Serpentine Pavilion designer, when we visited her studio. At the recent Biennale d’Architecture d’Orléans, Escobedo revisited the Ruta de la Amistad by presenting a reproduction of the metal frame behind the sculpture by Olivier Seguin. The precarious-looking, welded steel structure—now permanently installed at Le Parc Floral de La Source in Orléans, France—was inspired by an installation shot of the original work, which the architect discovered while visiting the archives of the FRAC Centre in France. “The picture presented the reality of 1968,” Escobedo recounted, reflecting on the ambiguous promise of modernism in the construction of Mexico’s national identity. “It’s all a spectacle.” “We haven’t been able to separate things,” explained de la Torre of the troubled legacy of 1968. “I think that now, there is an opportunity for both narratives to coexist.” But should the Olympics’ cultural legacy really be separated from its political context? Before the army opened fire at the crowd on October 2, 1968, anti-government protesters were chanting, “¡No queremos olimpiadas, queremos revolución!” (“We don't want the Olympics, we want a revolution!”)
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Oklahoma exhibit showcases graphics of golden age of passenger travel

Ticket to Ride, the show now up at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma, gathers paintings, posters, and graphic works by artists and commercial designers who depicted Western rail companies and the landscape they traversed between the late 1880s and early 1930s, the golden age of passenger travel. Private cars were not widely available, so artists and illustrators relied on the Western rail lines, such as the Atchison, Topeka, Santa Fe, and other Western lines, for travel. The rail companies also commissioned artists and illustrators for images of Western subjects to decorate their offices and hotels. The exhibition features Hudson River School pioneer Thomas Moran and “Master Painter of the American West” Maynard Dixon, among those who rode the Western railways and enjoyed their patronage. Ticket to Ride Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma 555 Elm Avenue Norman, Oklahoma October 5 through December 30
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Brooklyn Museum will activate its public spaces with a year of text-based installations

Beginning in September, the Brooklyn Museum will bring four site-specific installations to its indoor and outdoor public spaces. The installations, which will include existing and new works, are part of Something to Say, a year-long exhibition that will highlight the museum's role in civic conversation through text-based works installed in its entry pavilion, plaza, and lobby, all of which were designed by Ennead Architects. The exhibition is curated by Sharon Matt Atkins, the museum's director of curatorial affairs, and Carmen Hermo, associate curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum. The four selected artists are all Brooklyn-based and include Deborah Kass, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Hank Willis Thomas, and Brooklyn Hi-Art! Machine (BHAM), a Crown Heights–based collaborative art project of Mildred Beltre and Oasa DuVerney. All four grapple with text and language in their work. BHAM's woven text work, DO NOT DISAPPEAR INTO SILENCE, will take over the facade of the Martha A. and Robert S. Rubin Pavilion, reflecting the duo's concerns about gentrification and the role of artists to speak about and with silenced communities. Deborah Kass's giant, eight-foot-tall OY/YO sculpture, which was most recently displayed on the North Fifth Street pier in Williamsburg, will be installed on the museum's plaza and reflects a polyglot sensibility (in Spanish or Yiddish, depending on how the sculpture is read) that the artist believes is an urgent intervention at this fractured political moment. Rasheed's two-part installation will include a series of questions installed on the interior brick arcade that are meant to spur conversation, while her outdoor text-based work will be installed on the steps and invite visitors to reflect on location, time, and direction. Her work will also be accompanied by a programming collaboration with the nearby Brooklyn Public Library, where she will have a solo exhibition in 2019, in the form of a public reading group. The artist is currently engaged in an exhibition at the New Museum alongside The Black School that offers a learning space and library inspired by the community organizing of the Black Panthers and the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Finally, Thomas, who founded an artist-led "super PAC" currently leading a massive public art project encouraging voter participation via artist billboards in all 50 U.S. states, will bring something a little less monumental to the show. His nearly seven-foot-tall neon work, Love Rules, will hang above the museum's front desk and flash variations of the words in the work, from "Love Over Rules" to "Love Overrules," based on a phrase that was among his cousin's last recordings before he was killed in 2000. The Brooklyn Museum is located near four Brooklyn neighborhoods: Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Flatbush, and Park Slope, and its recent programming has been steadily oriented toward bringing more diverse museum-goers and local community members into the museum. For this show, the museum will kick off with a public event on October 6 at 11 a.m. that is open to the general public. The show is on view until June 30, 2019. Something to Say Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn Through June 30, 2019
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Los Angeles's first roundabout is a psychedelic sustainable landscape

Roundabouts are all the rage in Europe, but Americans have been slow to adopt this particular form of street design. Despite Los Angeles’s car-centric culture, the glitzy city is no exception, but that might start to change following the success of Riverside Roundabout, a stormwater-retaining traffic island at the intersection of Riverside Bridge, San Fernando Road, and Figueroa Street. The city’s first roundabout definitely brings the spectacle. Greenmeme, a studio working at the intersection of art and architecture, brought nine eye-catching granite sculptures to the site and created a resilient, varied landscape. The egg-shaped pods, ranging from 8 to 12 feet tall, each feature a face from a randomly-chosen local resident. Designers used 3-D scanners to capture the faces of the selected volunteers, and the sculptures bear the likenesses on either side, displaying 18 individuals in total. The sculptures were carved in slices by fabricator Coldspring using a CNC mill, with three sculptures carved from one block of granite. The end result, Faces of Elysian Valley, joins a proud tradition of face-based decorative art. The remaining granite offcuts were used to form a sculptural barricade around the center of the island and protect the “eggs” from traffic. Elongated faces have been stretched into the granite ring as well, creating a perspective trick that reveals undistorted visages as drivers circle the roundabout. Greenmeme worked with Ourston Roundabout Engineering to determine the sculptures’ size constraints, as the team needed to preserve sightlines across the island for drivers without distracting them. In designing the traffic island’s topography, Greenmeme sought to channel stormwater away from the street and adjacent bridge. The landscaped areas have been planted with native plants, and a 25,000-gallon cistern is buried underneath the roundabout, which uses captured rainwater to irrigate the green spaces and feed a water feature. Everything is powered by sun-tracking solar voltaics, including the lights used to illuminate the sculptures at night. The entire roundabout is ringed with permeable green pavers for drivers who need to pull off, and overall the landscape can handle and treat up to 500,000 gallons at a time (a once-every-ten-years rainfall event). Riverside Roundabout and Faces of Elysian Valley opened to the public in February of 2017.