DROP is a suspended stainless steel sculpture commissioned to give context to a water-harvesting courtyard in a Washington DC public high school. The courtyard is 118' long (east/west) and 62' wide (north/south). Terraced gardens running the length of the courtyard conceal two large water-holding tanks. A third tank is left exposed in the south-west corner. Rainwater is filtered by the plants in the gardens and collected in the tanks below. There are two full-length pools in the courtyard, on the upper and lower levels. Water flows through concrete troughs from the upper to the lower level and recirculates.
The courtyard is a large space that can be viewed from many angles. It also serves a purpose — to recycle water — but much of that is happening underground, out of view. The commissioned sculpture needed to illustrate the purpose and the working of this space in an appealing and attractive way, no matter where the viewer was located. The sculpture, DROP, and courtyard complement each other. DROP could not exist without the courtyard and the courtyard would be less magical without the sculpture.
This commission was an open public call. All interested artists sent portfolio images, qualifications, and a letter of intent. Finalists were selected and invited to tour the school. They had approximately a month after seeing the space to prepare a model and make a presentation to stakeholders (including student representatives). The winning artist, Alison Sigethy, then worked closely with the project manager, architects, engineers, and city officials to complete and install the work.
Drop, a site-specific sculpture created to look like a drop of rain caught by stop-motion photography, follows the path of water running through the guided troughs from the upper level to the long pool at the bottom of the terraced gardens. The sculpture consists of 36 mirror polished stainless steel orbs suspended from a cable system. It spans 28' in height and 38' in length.
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