Client: ARCH | NEXUS
Location: Sacramento, CA, United States
Completion date: 2016
Artwork budget: $10,000
Deanna Marsh Sculpture
Jeffry L. Davis
Arch|Nexus SAC transforms a former warehouse and downtown street corner into a neighborhood friendly, state-of-the-art ILFI Living Building Challenge Pursuant Building. Converting its 200 square foot streetscape into a functional, friendly, multi-use space for parking bikes and taking breaks invites community interaction. While the building references the river and reed landscape of the original site, the hand-hammered, stainless steel sculpture reflects the memory of motion from the historic corridor of covered wagons and trains to modern transportation. Interlocking rings support eight bikes. Cantilevered natural-edge wood benches offer ample seating. Kiln-formed glass moon phases fluidly highlight the playful name, “Luna Cycles.”
Living buildings are regenerative spaces that are designed to be self sufficient, giving more than they take in water and energy resources. The bike rack sculpture communicates the unique values of the renovated building while encouraging community connection. Sculptors were brought into the early design phases of the plan to offer concepts embracing the environmental standards of the Living Building Challenge and work only with carefully-vetted, non-redlist materials. Artists selected already use recycled materials, have solar-powered studios and high environmental and personal safety standards. The sculpture's curbside location required integrating features into the design to promote safety. Core-ten steel planters behind the cantilevered wood benches discourage step-overs while encouraging seating toward the natural site line to the interior "working design lab." A required hand-rail at 42" height was organically integrated into the flow of the steel bike rack circles to prevent pedestrians and bikes from moving through the bike rack and off the curb into oncoming traffic or the diagonal stay cable. Maximizing functionality for cyclists and bike-to-work incentives encourages less automobile traffic. Softly-sanded wood benches allow for breaks under the shade of a city-maintained mature tree. The sculpture's fluidity and shimmer contrasts the geometry of the building's natural-patina panels.
Because of the innovative Living Building Challenge requirements, the communication between the architect team and the artists was frequent and fluid. First, the commissioned artists attended Living Building awareness training to support the integrity of the process through material choice and work practices. The design concept of the building about rails and reeds was shared with the artists as inspiration for the artwork. The artists and architects attended city meetings together to meet code and ensure design integrity. Documentation of recycled and new materials was provided in advance of the sculpture's creation to ensure material vetting standards. Pictures of the sculpture-in-progress were shared as the sculpture progressed, generating anticipation of installation. Installation was organized as a team event with the support of the architects and construction crew on site to lift and move the sculpture into place, support assembly, and "take ownership" of the art. The opportunity to create sculpture in an extraordinary environmentally-friendly project, modeled best business practices and set a new standard for public art in Sacramento.
The building design expresses our company core values of inspiration, stewardship, and regeneration. The detail and care required to achieve the Living Building standard means many materials didn't make the vetting list, including standard welding rod, particular glass colors due to chemistry, unsustainable woods and high VOC glues. The artists needed to be willing to work outside and above the standards to find new ways of creating, repurposing and sourcing material. Our hope is that Arch|Nexus SAC will be an inspiration for others to employ similar methods and create places that enhance the community and respect nature.