Genius Loci

Submitted by Jenna Didier


Client: AvalonBay Dogpatch

Location: San Francisco, CA, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $112,000

Project Team


Marcial Chao


Art Consultant

Dorka Keehn


Jenna Didier


Working from the idea that there is an a priori spirit of place – a genius loci – that inhabits a site like the one in the Dogpatch, the artwork reveals this spirit. An architectural-scale optical illusion, a portion of the artwork presents an animation responding to passersby on the 280 freeway.


The choice of the corten steel as well as the cyan color of the graphics respond to the building's cladding. As the corten cladding on the building weathers, the artwork will seem to emerge from the surface of the building's facade; splitting to reveal the "spirit" moving within it. Recognizing that the audience is constantly in motion, the artwork responds to the shift in perspective as they go by.


The artist coordinated the integration of the artwork into the facades of the building via a series of weekly meetings with Pyatok, Kennerly Architects, and KPFF Engineering. The team worked together to address materials, structural concerns and weatherproofing.

Additional Information

This approach marks a significant advance in the artist's goal of creating responsive public art works that require little to no computer-driven elements. The art work achieves a kinetic effect with no moving parts and opens the doorway for a greater range of gesture and emotion.