Client: Adams County Pete Mirelez Human Services Center
Location: Westminster, CO, United States
Completion date: 2019
Artwork budget: $300,000
The Art Studio
RDG Planning & Design
Visual Arts Commission
RDG Planning & Design
Raker Rhodes Engineering
Iowa Metal Fabrication, LLC
The three pieces entitled “Gather” are inspired by and interpret the history and story of the project site. Welcoming citizens of Adams County, Colorado seeking human services, visitors and employees alike, this site-specific installation made of laser cut weathering steel suggests connections to the bounty of the community and past use of the land as an orchard, sharing that bounty in support of community health and wellbeing. The Westminster region was once part of a vast orchard. The art forms and textures are interpretations of “gathering” connected to the history of the orchard, the notion of bounty, and of sharing with community.
Creating a welcoming impression: Inspired by the simple beauty of nature, the forms are deliberately placed at either side of the main entry to the center suggesting open arms welcoming people from all walks of life. A third smaller form in the private garden gathering space is inspired in part by the experience of gathering around a campfire and serves as an outdoor anchor to an outdoor decompression space for youth and adults seeking counseling services.
Today, the site and existing building is transformed. Located in the city of Westminster, Colorado, what was once a 765-acre apple and cherry orchard providing sustenance for a community in the 1870s has been transformed from a large box tech facility to the Adams County Pete Mirelez Human Services Center. The public art work installation “Gather” welcomes visitors and employees alike with the belief that “beautiful environments create beautiful people.”
The installation is the result of three guiding principles the studio follows in all our work: Story | Structure | Site. The new building is inspired throughout with the theme (Story) of the “bounty of the orchard” realized in environmental graphics, wayfinding, and departmental identity expressed in the building interiors by the project design team throughout public and employee spaces. We worked closely to build upon that narrative and through our own artistic fact finding and research and with feed back from the building administration and stakeholders extended the story out to the public art as a welcoming gesture flanking the main entry plaza. A third piece located in quiet semi-private garden space provides focal point “campfire” moment where visitors can go outside to seek a decompressive experience in nature. Through the forms and placement of the sculptures on the project site the installation is sensitive and responsive to wayfinding (Structure) and to the contextual specifics of Site for both public and semi-private experiences. Creating and reinforcing a shared belief with our client that “beautiful environments create beautiful people.”
The installation entitled “Gather” is made of 5/8” thick, laser cut, weathering steel plate welded into sculptural forms suggesting a gathering shape like a fruit basket with patterns suggesting branches one might find in an orchard. The sculptures are each lit from below with a single LED fixture creating a warm glow at night. Positioned to give both a dynamic sense of movement and height coupled with stability, the two larger forms gesture as a welcoming feature and as part of the main entry plaza experience responsive to human scale and the pedestrian experience entering the facility.