Torchere, Sentinels, and Tall Sentinels @ R.B. Long Federal Courthouse

Submitted by Arthur Stern

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Project

Client: R.B. Long Federal Courthouse / Federal Government Art in Architecture Program

Location: Baton Rouge, United States

Completion date: 1994

Artwork budget: $100,000

Project Team

Artist

Arthur Stern

Arthur Stern Studios

Architect

Raymond (Skipper) Post, FAIA, past National AIA president

Post Architects

Public Art Agent

Susan Harrison Program Manager, Art in Architecture Program

Federal Government / G.S.A.

Overview

This project included an ensemble of three related installations at the R.B. Long Federal Courthouse: "Torchere" ( 10' tall x 5' wide x 6" deep), a bas-relief lobby sculpture built of cherry wood, metal, and glass and two large leaded glass windows titled "Sentinels" (17' wide x 13' high) and "Tall Sentinels"(17' wide x 15' high), featuring hand-blown glass and beveled glass prisms.

Goals

There was an old Art Deco Courthouse next door that this building was replacing, and I used geometric detailing I saw there as inspiration for my improvised designs in this contemporary building. I integrated my designs into the new Courthouse, matching the shapes and materials in the lobby and then featuring a red, white, blue, and gold color scheme for the art glass windows.

Process

I created designs that featured overall balance and symmetry to represent the balance of justice. There were actually three federal judges on the Public Art jury, along with other government officials, and they appreciated a design that was both balanced and respectful to the architecture.