Brailsford: Stream of Conciousness/Body of Water – CIP, CIty of San Diego, CA

Submitted by Brailsford Public Art


Client: City of San Diego, Capital Improvement Projects

Location: Miramar Water Treatment Facility, CA, United States

Completion date: 2015

Artwork budget: $750,000

Project Team


Robin Brailsford

Brailsford Public Art

Industry Resource

Carlos Melvin

CDM Engineering


Manuel Oncina

Oncina Architects


Michael Marks

Capital Improvement Projects: Water Department

Landscape Architect

Marian Marum

Marum Partnership

Landscape Architect

Patrick Caughey

Wimmer, Yamada & Caughey

Industry Resource

Allen Ross

ARTCo Allen Ross Tile Company

Industry Resource

Brandon Kinney

Western Summit


“Stream of Consciousness/Body of Water” embraces the reservoir and enhances the public interpretation of this facility's post 9/11 high security campus. See specs here:


Stream of Consciousness is the brain, the high tech Miramar Water Treatment Facility that processses water from 175 million gallons of Colorado River daily, to potable water for San Diego’s citizens and industry. One artwork is The Last Canyon of the Colorado. I first imagined it in clay, collaborated in CAD with engineers, then realized in concrete. Seven shelves create an oasis canyon, containing spring flood and average flow. The walls and shelves are clad in my tessellated mosaic, quartzite, boulders and cobble. The Canyon is both essential hydro-engineering and poetic interpretation. Staff and students approach the Administration Building over a canyon wide bridge. The interior art is clean modern mosaic, and a dance of scientifically correct molecule men in polished aqua terrazzo. Body of Water is the plant’s reservoir – Miramar Lake, around, and on which weather and residents recreate. Reflective signage welcomes, walls and gates secure, a mosaic waterfall depicts, and the planned Solar Garden celebrates the lake’s “body of water,” and the planet’s, sky’s and ours too. In scale, color and material the public art is that of the Colorado River.


On a big challenge like this, I find that I function as the conscience of the community, adding intellectual rigor, access, beauty and environmentalism to a project that would not otherwise have it. MWTP has won the AMERICAN WATERWORKS ASSOCIATION, PARTNERSHIP FOR SAFE WATER PROGRAM, – 2012 Director’s Award; and 2013 President’s Award – one of only 5 plants so designated in the USA. CAPITOL IMPROVEMENTS PROJECTS, Water Utilities Department, City of San Diego, CA. Since 1996 I have been the Public Artist on the $200,000,000, Miramar Water Treatment Plant. Working closely with 37 engineers on the CDM design team, as well as many architects and landscape architects. Brailsford Public Art is the only consultant on all 12 designs and all 12 construction contracts,

Additional Information

Clean water is the number one goal. All other ideas play second chair. Cost and efficiency are also essential. Retrofitting a large and potentially dangerous facility as seamlessly as possible into a bedroom community was always on the team's mind. Everyone on the team is a top professional in the technical and engineering professions. Budget is hard to figure, as the public art is woven into the fabric of the plant. Terrazzo floors were a GC line item, as was the huge and fabulous canyon.