Client: City of El Paso
Location: El Paso, TX, United States
Completion date: 2018
Artwork budget: $310,000
City of El Paso
MCAD, City of El Paso
Marquise transforms a standard building entrance into a spatial experience and visual icon. Gridded curvilinear petals comprise the brightly colored canopy and as well as its self-supporting structural system. This billowing structure opens up where it touches the ground to form a seating area with benches, extending a point of entry into a welcoming social space. Marked by a two-way Cheshire gradient, the lightweight aluminum structure entirely transforms the approach and initial experience of its host building, the Westside Natatorium.
The City of El Paso’s Public Art Program is tasked with implementing the design and installation of site-specific art work for each of the City’s capital projects. The Westside Natatorium is the City’s first indoor competition ready aquatics facility, and as such, will be welcoming visitors from the city, region and statewide. This created an opportunity to use the public art piece for the facility to show visitors from outside El Paso the investment the City has made to create an aesthetically pleasing community through public art. Marquise not only became a visually stunning piece of art, it provides much needed seating and shade from El Paso’s 300 days of sunshine. The scale of Marquise had to mirror the scale of the building itself, and this created an iconic piece of art that is as functional as it is breathtaking.
Because Marquise is physically part of the building’s structure, it was crucial that the artist, MCAD, architects and engineers work closely together to make sure the process was seamless. The process started with input from El Paso’s swimming community that included discussion on what would go into the building as well as ideas about the artwork that would become part of the project. Throughout the construction phase, work between the architect, builder and artist were coordinated to ensure installation and completion of the entire project happened according to its timelines. The end result created art that is a functional entrance to the natatorium as well as a focal point that welcomes visitors to the state of the art facility.
As a natatorium, the building’s functionality was foremost in the designers’ plans. With the simplistic design elements of the building itself, Marquise becomes the focal point that creates a welcoming entrance to swimmers who will be competing in this natatorium. The colors that billow through the structure were carried through the lighting elements in the facility helping to create an immersive experience as visitors cross the threshold into the pool.