DURHAM ADMIN BUILDING II – TAURUS

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Client: DURHAM COUNTY

Location: DURHAM, NC, United States

Completion date: 2018

Project Team

SUPPORTING ARTIST

STACY UTLEY

INDEPENDENT ARTIST

ARCHITECTURAL

O'BRIEN+ATKINS

ARCHITECTURAL

Overview

he Taurus sculpture in front of Durham County Administration Building II was inspired by the history of the site between Church and Roxboro Streets. The Hotel Malbourne, an iconic 1900’s landmark named for B.N. Duke’s father-in-law, Malbourne Angier, occupied this location until it was demolished in 1966 and replaced by Durham County’s Courthouse. Taurus was the name originally proposed for the hotel, but rejected by the town matrons in favor of Malbourne. Thus, the concept of the Taurus (Latin for “the bull”) sculpture draws on the association between the Bull City’s history and the site’s prior use.

In the daytime, viewers see highly polished aluminum that reflects the building’s metal, terracotta, and stone. Other areas of the sculpture are treated with a rainbow-hued patina, symbolically connecting it to the bright stars within the Taurus constellation, the misty cosmic colors of nebulae, and Durham’s diversity. At night, the sculpture transforms to reflect Durham’s eclectic downtown nightlife – incorporating dynamic, shifting base lighting of the sculpture and embedded LED’s that are patterned to form the nine stars of the constellation.

Goals

Durham County sought a new work of art that is permanent in nature and had relevance to the site. The sculpture was installed in the outdoor plaza along Main Street. This corridor provided a high profile opportunity for an imaginative and innovative site-specific signature artwork. The sculpture serves as the signature piece for the Judicial Building and County’s Administrative core.
The artistry fits well within the context of the site – in terms of scale and design or theme – and shows consideration of the audience (of all ages). The work also provides use of the plaza and views from the interior considers the architecture of the building and complements the design. Further, the work compliments the use of the facility during both day and evening hours. Materials and finish artwork are of the highest quality and was designed and fabricated for durability as well as for relatively low maintenance.

Process

The artist team worked in conjunction with representatives from the appropriate City-County adjacencies (admin project leads, architects, landscape engineers) on gaining the necessary approvals for the sculpture. This included gaining community input on the artistry as required.