55 Degrees

Submitted by Adam Kuby

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Client: CIty of Boulder Office of Arts & Culture

Location: Boulder, CO, United States

Completion date: 2020

Artwork budget: $430,000

Project Team

Fabricators

Jessica Adams

Living Design Studios

Project Manager

Mandy Vink

City of Boulder

Civil Engineer

Brett Robinson

JVA Associates

Overview

Three steel sculptures transfer the exact angle of repose (55°)––and the geographic orientation (north-south)––of Boulder Colorado’s iconic Flatirons into the heart of the city. (2020) Corten Steel. 16′ h. x 40′ x 325′. Viewed from the side the forms line up exactly with the mountain’s formations. From other angles the large openings on each sculpture create interactive windows that frame the sky, the park, and the mountains beyond. As one moves around the sculptures, changing views of their shapes and angles create a visually dynamic experience that unfolds as one travels through the park.

Goals

The landscape was already designed and installed when the artwork was commissioned so the challenge was to integrate the art into an existing design. The concept connects the new Civic Park with the region's environment and geology using a bold abstract vocabulary. The sharp angles and rectilinear shapes compliment the curving paths and contours of the park, and the sculptures were sited on the tops of the park berms to enhance their scale and impact, just as the real Flatirons emerge from the foothills.

Process

I worked with the Boulder of Office and Culture, other city staff, local engineers, fabricators and contractors to realize the project. Civil engineers developed the structural aspects, while I worked concurrently with city planners and staff to determine the best siting for the sculptures. I also employed hydrology engineers because flood plain modeling was required due to the proximity of Boulder Creek. I then engaged a local metal fabrication company to develop and construct the sculptures and helped manage site prep, foundations, installation and landscape modifications.