Client: Normandale Community College
Location: Bloomington, MN, United States
Completion date: 2013
Artwork budget: $92,000
Rafferty Rafferty Tollefson Lindeke
Rafferty Rafferty Tollefson Lindeke
Named as the 'Garden of Learning', the artwork compliments the completion of a 74,000 square foot community college classroom building. Conceived in concert with the architectural conceptual design, the artwork serves as a reminder of the adjacent wetland that the new academic addition overlooks. The piece was designed to be symbolic representations of exotic plants or trees. Ultimately, this installation serves to augment the visual experience of the adjacent collegial spaces as one which encourages collaborative academic intellect and team work.
There were three key goals to the integration of the artwork: to satisfy the requirements of the Minnesota Percent for Art Act, to promote classmate collaboration within public collegial spaces, and to design an art piece which possessed a timeless quality and harmonious integration within the architectural design.
Constructed on the campus of one of Minnesota's largest community colleges, the integration of the artwork sought to unite the environmental elements of the exterior with the dynamic and multi-faceted program on the interior. The design, by noted Sculptor Alexander Tylevich, was conceived as a metaphor of nature as it was informed by an adjacent campus wetland and exotic Japanese garden. The forms created through dichroic glass and stainless steel is suggestive of the surrounding botanical forms as well as the vitality found within the interior environment. In extension, the artwork stimulates the scholastically growth of the collegians and the visual appeal of the faculty who utilize the space. It has become the 'cool space' to hang out in. Together these users experience this artwork as a focal point for collegial interaction and continual visual engagement as this two-story installation is visible from multiple vantage points throughout the primary circulation artery.
A committee made up of representatives from Normandale Community College and the Architecture Firm of Rafferty Rafferty Tollefson Lindeke met to select an artist to commission through an open Request for Qualifications process. The artists were asked to submit conceptual designs which articulated the glass focus of the two-story expanse of window wall that runs length of the west facade of a new three-story structure. Facilities management reviewed the submissions to ensure its suitability as they were to assume its maintenance upon completion.
Once Alexander Tylevich was selected, a series of mock-ups were constructed for committee review: one with cardboard and the other where all of the cables associated with the art piece were temporarily installed to allow for a mock-up for final sizing and shape molding. Through this participatory process, the design gave the artist creative freedoms with various stages for approval or revision. The final design features vignettes of the building plan as well as the signatures of the artist as well as the two architects, a token of their collaboration.
The artist Alexander Tylevich created this artwork with the intention to supplement a space that engages the site both physically and conceptually. The installation address four key issues that the leaders of Normandale Community College sought to foster, these are: critical creative thinking, communication effectiveness, the demonstration of personal respect and life skills and social responsibility. The 'leaves' of the installations are made of 3-Form material of different colors and textures and issue a dichroic effect (more than one color from different vantage points). The two 'flowers' of the installations have incorporated LED lighting within the colored 'exotic flower'.