Client: Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism - Louisiana Tech University
Location: Ruston, LA, United States
Completion date: 2021
Pittman Design LLC
Louisiana Tech University - Campus President
Louisiana Department of Recreation, Culture, and Tourism
Nite Owl Hal LLC
Creative Techologist - Lighting Artist
Alex Grummel - Evgeny Hadji
Carbo Landscape Architects
OverviewLouisiana Tech University has recently celebrated its 125th anniversary. Ambitious campus improvements, designed to highlight this important milestone, continue to take place. Among these improvements are many new buildings, renovations to existing buildings, a Campus Green project, as well as new parking and street lighting throughout the campus core. These enhancements celebrate the learning experience while fostering a more engaging, safer, and inclusive environment as visitors, students, and faculty travel from place to place. Critical to the success of this project, the University has placed a high importance to “welcoming gateways” in the master plan. Along the east end of the Campus Green is where the historic campus core and Enterprise Campus come together. Campus leaders have determined this campus confluence would be the perfect location for an iconic work of art. A collaboration between myself and the campus design team resulted in a design that dramatically improves the urban experience on campus.
At nearly 45 feet tall, "Aspire" emerges graciously from the landscape in the form of a cascading fountain. Important to the overall campus master plan, the fountain metaphor is meant to harmonize with another noteworthy public sculpture on campus – the Lady of the Mist. The slender structure is composed of delicately interwoven steel pipe and acrylic elements. The kinetic interplay of both natural and artificial light with these elements will cast beautiful transmissions of color on the surrounding hardscape surfaces. Highly visible from long distances both day and night, the sculpture will also be a campus focal point for wayfinding and community gatherings.
This is the second project where I have collaborated with Creative Technologist, Nathan Jenkins. Nathan’s passion for the built environment involves both art and innovation. He is highly skilled in bringing creative ideas to life by exploring the intersection between interactive technology and experiential environments. Our professional skill sets are well paired resulting in a synergistic artistic process. The expressive forms that I design and fabricate are made dynamic and evolving through Nathan’s mastery in kinetic, generative, and interactive technologies. The collaboration between Nathan and myself has proven that we are both determined to find new ways to bring people together and celebrate beauty through art and technology.
It was important to the University that Aspire be both an aspirational totem, as well as a symbol of celebration toward increased inclusivity in higher education. At a time where inclusion, diversity, and equity provide the answers to a stronger future for the city, state, and nation, Louisiana Tech is determined to lead by example during this historic movement. The art will serve to invigorate the urban experience, while bringing diverse parts of the campus and surrounding City of Ruston together. A harmonious relationship is created between the art, the landscape, and the people. Not only will the artwork improve the urban condition, but it will also serve as a permanent symbol for humanity.