ULX May09

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May 2009 Urban Land ULX Web extra. Ten examples of contemporary art in built environments.

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ULX May09

  1. 1. ulx Art of Bounds ron nyren Beyond the walls of muse- to play in the urban landscape. For or pick a work at random to fulfill a Ten examples of contemporary ums, public art plays a number private sector developments, it can percent-for-the-arts requirement, art integrated into the built of roles. For cities, it can bolster draw shoppers, orient visitors, and the municipal agencies, nonprofit downtown redevelopment efforts, create a strong sense of place. organizations, and private sector environment. create civic landmarks, and make The best uses of public art developers and owners shown the history of a place palpable. In tend to engage in dialogue with below spent time choosing artists terms of infrastructure, art can indi- or reflect some aspect of their and artworks and, in some cases, vidualize transit stations, encour- surroundings—physical, historic, facilitated community input. age people to use transit as well as demographic, or cultural. Rather walking and cycling paths, and give than haul in a famous artist Ron nyRen is a freelance architecture and urban parking structures an aesthetic role simply for the sake of the name, design writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  2. 2. 1. Aventura Mall aventUra, FLoriDa A witty juxtaposition with the nearby south Florida palm trees, Back of a Snowman, a faceless, enamel- on-bronze snowman sculpture by Gary Hume, greets visitors to Aventura Mall. Inside, two gigantic eyeballs made of black Zimbabwe granite and created by sculptor Louise Bourgeois watch shoppers from a position on Aventura Mall’s concourse floor, not far from the escalators. On second-story ceiling beams, Steven Brooke StudioS/the artiSt and Marian GoodMan Gallery conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner has painted Acquired Required Desired Admired | All within the Realm of | Possibility—the words of the title appear in both English and Spanish, acknowledging the area’s high proportion of Hispanic people. Aventura-based Turnberry Associates, the mall’s owner, created the Turnberry for the Arts program in concert with renovations, seeking to draw residents and tourists with museum-caliber art. The program incorporates contemporary art in various media and also commis- sions site-specific work. The first work was unveiled in 2006, a children’s playground created by Miami art collective Friends with You.
  3. 3. 2. BP Energy Center anchorage, aLaska On a plasma video screen inside the BP Energy Center, Alaskans tell oral histories; the text of their speech flows along a 150-foot-long (46-m-long) LED display through a corridor, penetrating a plate glass window and snaking through the trees of the adjacent birch forest. The Story Pipeline, created by artist Ben Rubin of EAR Studio working with Batwin+Robin Pro- ductions, both of New York, consciously evokes the Alaska Pipeline, one of whose major owners—Houston, Texas–based BP America—built the BP Energy Center. Designed by Anchorage architecture firm Koonce Pfeffer Bettis, Inc., and completed in 2002, the facility has two goals: to provide a training, meeting, and conference center for the state’s nonprofits and edu- cation organizations—at no charge—and to house interactive displays and changing exhibitions to educate visiting schoolchildren and other members of the public about the state’s energy industry. kevin SMith
  4. 4. bristoL, engLanD, U.k. The shell-shaped glass roof that arcs over the central ©Paul Grundy/Murray Scott/inSite artS-art conSultantS square and shopping streets of Cabot Circus is among multiple, site-specific art commissioned for the retail and leisure development, which also includes residences, a hotel, and office space. As part of the art program created by London arts consultant InSite Arts, the project’s master planner and lead designer, Chapman Taylor Architects, collaborated with artist Nayan Kulkarni (both based in London) to create the roof. The glazed planes are attached to six different buildings, protecting the spaces beneath from the weather without sealing them under a traditional roof. Other works include 25-foot-long (7.5-m-long) neon figures created by London-based artists Vong Phaophanit and Claire Oboussier, which dangle in the parking struc- ture’s central void, and Surrey, England–based Ackroyd & Harvey’s 66-foot-high (20-m-high) tower clad in slate and topped by solar panels and a wind turbine to power its illumination. Developed by the Bristol Alliance, Cabot Circus opened in 2008.
  5. 5. 4. Downtown East/Metrodome LRT Station and Plaza MinneapoLis, Minnesota To design each station along Minneapolis’s Hiawatha light-rail transit line, which opened in 2004, Minnesota’s Metropolitan Council, the region’s governmental agency, brought together dif- ferent teams of architecture firms and artists. For each station, public workshops were held to ask area residents what they would like the design to express about their neighborhoods. For the Downtown East/Metrodome station, local architec- ture firm Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc., paired up with local artist Andrew Leicester. The project includes a below-grade parking garage, a one-acre (0.4-ha) public plaza, and the tran- sit station, with the platform bisecting the block diagonally. Marking the station as a gateway to downtown, a curving arcade stretches across the center of the site, clad with colorful brick mosaics that honor the immigrants who crossed the Mississippi River over the nearby Stone Arch Bridge in the 19th century to settle nearby. The arcade’s arches also recall that bridge as GeorGe heinrich well as the Roman Coliseum, precursor to modern stadiums like the Metrodome. m ay 2 0 0 9 U r b a n La n D 33
  6. 6. varioUs Locations throUghoUt the U.k. The National Cycle Network consists of 12,000 miles (19,300 km) of pedestrian/bicycle paths connecting the United King- dom’s main cities, towns, and villages. Sustrans, the Bristol, England–based charity that has been coordinating and grow- ing the network since the late 1970s, developed the Art and the Travelling Landscape program to commission site-specific contemporary artworks in an effort to entice more people to use the paths. Artists such as Andy Goldsworthy and Doug Cocker take cues from the surroundings and engage with local communities with the aim of creating meaningful landmarks. For Hi-Views, the 25-mile (40-km) route between Lincoln and Boston, the artworks include Boston Pendulum by Paul Robbrecht of the Ghent, Belgium–based architecture firm Robbrecht en Daem. Installed in 2007, it is a work of art david Martin/SuStranS in itself—its colors derived from the plumage of local birds, its form a contemporary interpretation of the gothic vaulting of Lincoln Cathedral visible in the distance—as well as a viewing platform for surveying the landscape.
  7. 7. 6. Huizenga Plaza Fort LaUDerDaLe, FLoriDa The Broward County Public Art and Design Program in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, com- missioned Seattle-based artist Dan Corson to create a permanent light-based artwork in celebration of the program’s 30th anni- versary. After several sites were considered, an existing downtown park, Huizenga Plaza, was chosen. The city’s downtown develop- ment authority became involved, providing additional funds: the project provided the opportunity to address the authority’s desire for enhanced nighttime lighting in the area as a way of alleviating safety concerns. Corson devised two works: Luminous Conjunctions provides a steady white light and incorporates motion sensors that light the park’s trees col- orfully with energy-efficient LEDs when people pass by. Emerald Laser Lawn relies on motion sensors to project a variety of moving laser light patterns across the park’s grass. The ©dan corSon works were installed in 2007.
  8. 8. 7. International Trade Center Parking Structure charLotte, north caroLina In the mid-1990s, when Bank of America acquired the former Charlotte Apparel Mart (now the International Trade Center) in the city’s uptown neighborhood, the associated parking structure was unfinished, lacking brick cladding on one side. With construction starting on a heritage trolley line along the street, and the Charlotte Bobcats Arena slated to open opposite the structure in 2005, Bank of America turned to Sebastopol, California–based artist Ned Kahn for a way to transform the exposed facade. Kahn had previously created artwork for the facade of another of the bank’s parking structures in Charlotte. For Wind Silos, completed in 2006, Kahn covered the 80-foot-high (24-m-high) by 450-foot-long (137-m-long) facade with a series of corrugated and perforated stainless steel screens, curved to recall the forms of the Archer Daniels Mid- land Company grain silos not far from downtown. The screens incorporate a 16-foot-high (4.9-m-high) band along the length of the facade, containing thou- sands of small stainless steel disks. These disks reflect light and move in the breeze, creating a striking visual buffer without blocking ventilation.
  9. 9. ©colin Jewall 8. Sapperton SkyTrain Station, Millennium Rail Line new westMinster, british coLUMbia, canaDa One of the first stations built on the 12.4-mile (20-km) Millennium Line extension of the Vancouver metropolitan area’s elevated SkyTrain system, Sapperton Station contains within itself a com- mentary on the human desire for motion. Fluid Motion, by Van- couver artist Alan Storey, consists of two metal discs, each 18 feet (5.5 m) in diameter, fixed vertically between two platforms. Storey connected a stationary bicycle—located on the pedestrian overpass above—to the work so that transit riders could get the discs spinning by pedaling. In the fashion of a zoetrope, panels with images blur into an animation of the moon going through its phases on one disc, while the other disc shows the ubiquitous stick figure of urban signage performing backflips. The work’s title alludes not only to the movement of the trains but also to the flow of liquid in the nearby brewery, one of the major employers in the ©colin Jewall immediate vicinity. Designed by IBI/HB Architects of Vancouver, the station opened in 2002.
  10. 10. 9. Warren City Square warren, Michigan Warren, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit and the third-largest city in the state, evolved to accommodate the automobile and lacked a city center. The city hired Madison, Wisconsin– based JJR to redress this problem by planning a pedestrian-friendly, 12-block downtown and creating a new city square. In front of the new city hall and library designed by Neumann/ Smith Architecture of Southfield, Michigan, the square includes a plaza, a pavilion, a stage, a formal lawn, an interactive water feature that doubles as an ice rink in the winter, and Dawn, two tall steel sculptures by David Barr of Novi, JuStin Maconochie/Maconochie PhotoGraPhy Michigan. The sculptures not only serve as a centerpiece for the square, but also inspired the city’s new logo, meant to symbolize the city’s aspirations for the future. The square opened in 2006 as part of the city’s 50th anniversary celebration.
  11. 11. 10. Webb Bridge MeLboUrne, victoria, aUstraLia Patterned after the eel traps that local Aborigines wove out of vegetation hundreds of years ago, the Webb Bridge represents a collaboration between artist Robert Owen and Denton Corker Marshall Architects, both based in Melbourne, Australia. Completed in 2002, the sinuous steel-lattice bridge builds on and extends leftover sections of a former rail bridge on the Yarra River, provid- ing passage for pedestrians and bicyclists and connecting the Docklands on the north bank to new residential developments on the south. The developer of those resi- Shannon McGrath dences, Mirvac Corporation of Sydney, New South Wales, funded the Webb Bridge with 1 percent of the project’s budget as part of the Victoria government’s art policy for the Docklands redevelopment. The 361-foot- long (110-m-long) bridge includes a ramp for wheelchair access. UL

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