Client: The College of New Jersey
Location: Ewing, NJ, United States
Completion date: 2018
Artwork budget: $180,000
John Morgan Thomas
John Morgan Thomas Landscape Architecture
A 28′ w landmark functional sculpture inspired by the Fibonacci sequence creates a dynamic community hub and instructional space with seating for students and a dramatic sculptural chalkboard feature. Reflecting the significance of the Golden Ratio in science, humanities and mathematics, the artwork serves as an icon for the College’s commitment to interdisciplinary inquiry. Explored since ancient times and made popular through work of Leonardo Fibonacci and Thomas Kepler in the Middle Ages, the Golden Ratio is visualized here as a logarithmic spiral. A focal point of the college green both in the daytime and when it is dramatically lit at night, the sculpture is a popular gathering place and site for “selfies” and group photos.
The goal was to create artwork that created a dramatic landmark and icon for the College's STEM Program that captured the program's commitment to STEM disciplines and interdisciplinary inquiry, including the Humanities. In addition, the goal was to create a functional outdoor classroom that could seat a full class of students, providing a functional chalkboard and utilities for the Professor. (The curved chalkboard also captures sound, amplifying the voice of the speaker.)
WOWHAUS engaged faculty and administrators at the College as we developed the concept for the artwork. We brought on John Thomas Landscape Architects to assist with integrating the artwork into the Campus Green site. We collaborated with ZFA Structural Engineers and Kreysler & Associates, the fabricators, in engineering and fabrication. Harry Gordon Sculpture assisted with installation, while we supervised a a range of local contractors who executed the footing and hardscape installation. S & M Landscape Lighting created and installed the LED lighting design. Thomas Crane Photography documented the artwork.
> WOWHAUS leveraged the unique capabilities of highly durable Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) in this project, which was used to create both the dramatically curving chalkboard surface that mimics slate as well as the body of the sculpture, which mimics granite. Granite figures prominently in the campus architecture; use of granite finish links the streamlined form of the sculpture to the historic campus buildings. > The Golden Spiral not only serves as an outdoor classroom, it offers space for creative community expression via the chalkboard, which is a popular "canvas" for temporal student expression. Students delight in creating drawings, poetry, etc. on the chalkboard, which is cleaned before lessons. The curved chalkboard amplifies sound, creating an impromptu performance space for music and spoken word.