Location: Dallas, TX, United States
Completion date: 2019
The uplifting, flowing shape of “Passages” is a distinctively unifying visual keystone for the 14-acre urban campus called Energy Square. The 32-foot-tall, stainless steel sculpture is located near the middle of the green space surrounded by five office buildings. One of those building is the well-known Meadows Building, a stunning example of classic 1950s architecture, and introduced the atomic shapes into the initial design process. Ultimately, the shapes of “Passages” bridge the architectural styles of the buildings that range from mid-century to the modern era.
The dance and weaving of the mirror-polished channels reflect the beauty of community cooperation, which provides for unique individual contributions. The three elements come together in formation to create a tight braid to symbolize the diversity of people, businesses, and structure. The sculpture’s silhouette also hints at the flickering flame as a nod to energy concepts for which this location is historically known. At night, the top and bottom of the channels glow to bring a warm, ethereal feel to the installation. “Passages” brings a vitality to Energy Square because it is born of the history, nature, modern stylings, and people of this urban campus.
The goal for "Passages" is to unify a disparate group of buildings and people in a manner befitting of the location’s storied history in the oil and gas industries and also welcome diverse businesses and visitors to this urban greenspace.
Artists Brad Oldham and Christy Coltrin worked directly with a small group representative of ownership, development, architects, and landscape architects working on the Energy Square renovation. After conducting research and stakeholder interviews, the artists presented their narratives, pencil sketches and clay maquettes to the team for the placemaking sculpture. Once "Passages" was chosen, Brad, Christy, and the Brad Oldham Sculpture team then took the concept through shop drawings, engineering, fabrication, and installation.
The simplicity of the shapes that make up "Passages" belies it complexity. Many sight lines were considered. The people in the office buildings surrounding "Passages" have an almost bird’s eye view of the sculpture that differs from the ground-level experience of having lunch in the greenspace. The campus also has an audience of vehicular and pedestrian traffic not associated with the offices to consider. The height of the sculpture allows it to be seen from vantage points outside of the campus as well. A daytime viewing might vary throughout the year as the reflective stainless steel picks up ambient colors and light, while a nighttime viewing is more intimate as the top and bottom of the channels glow with warm light.