Ginkgo Glass Sculpture

Submitted by Janelle Baglien

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Client: n/a

Location: Hillsboro, OR, United States

Completion date: 2012

Artwork budget: $95,000

Project Team

Architect

AECOM

Interior Designer

Richelle Nolan

AECOM

Art Consultant

Janelle Baglien

Studio Art Direct

Overview

Studio Art Direct was awarded the contract to provide over 900 artworks for a new 480,000 sq. ft hospital and medical center. 350 works of art were specifically commissioned for the project. This 16'0″ high by 8'0″ wide kiln formed glass and steel sculpture chandelier is one of the most significant features in the project. Hanging from the skylight in the main rotunda entry, it glistens with transparent green glass and subtly changes color as the sun moves through the sky.

Goals

The sculpture needed to feel serene and uplifting and reflect the project theme of "Tranquil Relief Through Nature." It could not feel heavy while perched overhead in the rotunda as patients and visitors need to feel secure and calm in the space. The Ginkgo tree is the world's oldest living fossil and represents health and longevity. The leaves are elegant, arching, and add a beautiful soft curve to the space. The sculpture had to be integrated into the structural design of the rotunda and required extensive structural engineering and design integration during the early phases of the project construction. Simple considerations such as alleviating the slightest bit of sway (which unnerves people) were eliminated with thin aluminum cabling and a balance of weight on all sides of the sculpture. The sculpture is also viewable from the second level so details such as raindrops on the leaves and considerations to the view from that angle were considered and integrated into the design.

Process

Studio Art Direct created the general concept of a large glass sculpture chandelier during the early phases of design and programming. After the client had approved the concept, we selected Sue Grauten as the artist because of her extensive experience in integrating glass sculpture into the built environment. On a project such as this, the art consultant is required to carry the liability of the installation and therefore it is extremely important to work with artist teams that understand the requirements for structural design as well as aesthetic beauty when creating a permanent art installation of this magnitude. This commission took over a year to create and install. The entire design team and client attended several in-studio reviews. From initial elevation drawings, to building a quarter scale model, and eventually a full-scale model out of aluminum and styrofoam leaves hanging at actual height from a model of the skylight, to samples of the kiln formed glass leaves, each step was approved by the entire team. Coordination for installation and lighting were also a part of Studio Art Direct's project management duties.