Rain Ravine

Submitted by Stacy Levy

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Client: Frick Environmental Center

Location: Pittsburgh, PA, United States

Completion date: 2016

Artwork budget: $50,000

Project Team

Artist

Stacy Levy

Stacy Levy

Landscape Architect

Fred Bonci

La Quatra Bonci

Architect

Robert Aumer

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Client

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

Overview

Part of an overall Living Building Challenge site design, Rain Ravine carries
all the rain from the building’s roof to the wetlands for reuse as part of the
required net zero waste on the site. This artwork contributes to both the
Water and Beauty elements of the Living Building Challenge. All the rain
water from the roof flows through the sculpture, which consists of a series of
ever-deepening stone runnels that evoke the shale geology in the park. The
topographical stone runnel highlights the movement of water in wet weather
and in dry weather, reflects the power of water’s eroding force.

Goals

Frick Environmental Center qualifies as a Living Building Challenge in that it is a regenerative space that gives more to the environment than it takes. Rain Ravine helps with this mission by collecting and conveying all runoff water on the site, fulfilling two of the eight requirements of the Living Building Challenge: for net zero water flow and for beauty. Rain Ravine also has an educational role: it attracts visitors to come to witness the flow of rainwater, and to play in this water as it rushes past the building. In its dry state, the artwork creates a visual metaphor of the terraced shale geology of the Ravine, giving people a vivid image of the geologic patterns to seek out as they explore more deeply into Frick Park.

Process

Rain Ravine was a collaboration with the building architects Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and the landscape architects La Quatra Bonci, to convey the rain water through the site in a way that is both functional and evocative. The artist also collaborated with the education department of the Pittsburgh Conservancy. One of the goals of the artwork was to create a visceral sense of the quantity of rain that falls in this biome. The artwork is truly a collaboration between the built environment and the local weather.