Client: UCSD Medical School
Location: San Francisco, CA, United States
Completion date: 1998
Artwork budget: $80,000
The University of San Francisco Medical School wanted two commemorative benches for 9/11 on their two campuses. The goal was to create a place for contemplation outdoors in their gardens. The benches had to be suitable for outdoors and were fabricated out of corten steel, stainless steel and concrete. dimensions variable: 12' wide x 50″d x 45″h
Because it was a memorial bench for the tragedy of 9/11, I intended for the bench to be more contemplative and even encouraging community: one of the benches is quite wide and can accomodate sitters on each side: a group of people can sit and mingle on both sides, or one solo person can choose to sit alone on one side and a group can sit on the other. The concave side of the bench encourages interaction, and the convex side can allow for reflection. The aftermath of 9/11 conjures up destruction of the twin towers: mangled steel concrete, etc. I wanted to use these materials in a more harmonious sense and was much inspired by my recent visits to Japan in terms of the forms, and the tinted concrete.
While I was the solo designer of this project, I was able to collaborate with the builder, Paul Basile and experiment with a number of different colors for concrete and textures for the stainless steel. We chose the two steels as contrasting surfaces, with the stainless being used for backrests and the corten steel being used for the base support. Models were presented to UCSF and approved by their committee with no changes needed for the original design.