Client: Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County and Nevada Department of Transportation
Location: Reno, USA
Completion date: 2013
Artwork budget: $800,000
Vicki Scuri Siteworks
Tim Vesco, P.E.
Cindy Potter, P.E.
This project features “Great Basin” inspired patterning for retaining walls, sculptural piers, pier caps, native landscaping, rain harvesting and the new Meadowood Mall Way overcrossing bridge with light towers inspired by local rock formations. Improvements include two bridge widenings and one new bridge. It applies the Nevada Department of Transportation’s (NDOT) US 395 Landscape and Aesthetics Corridor Plan, involving extensive public participation. Emphasis is on regional identity and the environment, combining aesthetics with native landscaping and rain harvesting. The light towers feature programmable LED lighting, marking community events, holidays and seasons, creating anticipation of celebration throughout the year.
The project is a good example of the NDOT US 395 Landscape and Aesthetics Corridor Plan that emphasizes context sensitive design. The Plan identified this new interchange to be designed as a focal element due to the proximity to the adjacent commercial centers. The project included a conceptual phase developing upgrades in hardscape, landscaping and lighting, reflecting a regional signature. The artist, Vicki Scuri, and the design team including landscape architects and engineers, worked collaboratively on all aspects of the project coordinating disciplines to create a shared vision reflecting the regional character while creating a signature project for the community. Aesthetics and landscape are closely integrated with the infrastructure and site, creating a complementary relationship between the sculptural relief, native plants and rain harvesting, connecting the site as a whole.
The integration of aesthetics into the overall design was important in promoting a sense of place. Vicki Scuri collaborated with the design team to create sculptural piers with raised pier caps, monumental light towers with programmable LED lighting and sculptural relief patterning on surfaces and retaining walls. These aesthetic features contribute to capturing the regional and local character, establishing a community landmark that is unique to its site and community.
The design team closely followed NDOT’s Landscape and Aesthetics Corridor Plan. Community meetings were held throughout conceptual design, gathering public and local agency comments. A “menu of opportunities” was developed, conceptually illustrating proposed aesthetic features and their related source material. The process involved research and creativity, translating the concepts and public and agency comments into a cohesive design embracing community values and the opportunities presented by the site. The artist and design team collaborated closely, implementing a holistic approach to all elements, capturing the location within the Great Basin, featuring rock outcroppings, fossil forms, and native landscaping, while respecting the engineering requirements of the infrastructure.
The light towers, sculptural piers, pier caps, and relief are designed by the artist and engineered for the infrastructure by the team. The fossil inspired patterning is created by using CNC (computer numeric code) carving, suggesting both our current technological time and the prehistoric time of the Great Basin, once a prehistoric sea, renown for its early life forms: diatoms, plants and sea life fossilized in the landscape. Catchments, divots, mounds and rock mulch capture water, promoting rain harvesting in this arid environment. These features reinforce the values and the character of the region.
The sweeping landscape, the monumental form, and the programmable LED lighting promote community engagement. There is an emphasis on regional and seasonal identity. This creates interest for residents and visitors alike. The seasonally changing landscape character, combined with the LED illumination celebrates seasonal change, community events and holidays. The patterns of light and shadow on the wall relief are stunning throughout the day, highlighting the rising and setting sun and awareness of light. The Reno sky and nearby mountains create a dynamic backdrop for this project year-round. Recently, the Meadowood Project won a 2013 NV ASLA Merit Award.