Client: Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners through its Public Art Program
Location: Ruskin - Hillsborough County, FL, United States
Completion date: 2012
Artwork budget: $90,000
Dan Meyers / Bill Hand
Hillsborough County Facilities BOCC
Koryn Rolstad Studios
‘Sandpiper Pavilions’ responded to Hillsborough County's plan for art as an interactive environment situated on an unused library plaza. The pavilions reference the beloved Gulf Sandpipers, through their structural forms. Laser cut circular sunshades shadow palm imagery, continuing the shoreline theme. Water ring images are sandblasted on the plaza surface, linking pedestrian seating areas with pavilions. This formerly unused plaza now hosts markets and events, along with occasional avian visitors from the surrounding wetland. ‘Sandpiper Pavilions’ cover two areas, each at 23' l x 15'w x 12' h. Nighttime LED in-ground lighting has 6 programs changing colors.
'Sandpiper Pavilions' were designed as an interactive architectural environment for the SouthShore Regional Library Plaza in Ruskin Florida. The County desired a structural stage presence as the public art contribution incorporated into their master plan to engage a more varied public constituency. Designed and engineered to last through the years and Florida weather patterns, the two Pavilions have a walking sandpiper 'bird-like’ visual reference to the nearby Florida Gulf shore, the circular shade panels' laser-cut palm imagery shadows on to the ground, changing throughout the day. After dark, LED in-ground lighting at the feet create changing color effects using up to 6 programmed 'scenes' including slow moving colors and ‘holiday themes’. The final aspect features water ring images that are sandblasted into the concrete, tying the pedestrian seating area and artwork pavilions together with the shoreline, flora and fauna theme. This seemingly large open and little utilized space has become a focal point for a new growing community with the introduction of weekend markets, concerts, poetry readings and evening public gatherings.
The project was similar to other projects where I was commissioned to design a very different project solution from the final installation. KRS' first design was a series of very private seating areas for reading and contemplation. After reviewing the future criteria of the Library system and the community we all decided to re-design the plaza as a cultural destination and venue. I designed the pavilions as a show place for markets, music groups, readings and evening events. The architects for the County continued our shoreline theme by adding curved seating walls, seating and tables, sound parasol shades, and more landscaping. I also added sandblasted circular elements in the plaza furthering the shoreline theme. This project proves that public art and community partnerships can greatly expand the utility of a public space, creating new opportunities for connection and stake-holdership.
This project was a small feat of structural engineering. I initiated all drawings from my studios. The visually elegant curved legs (like the sandpiper bird legs) hold up at only 3 spots at each of the cantilevered shade discs. The discs are held up away from the footing point load making the installation appear to move like the birds it emulates. Every vantage point shows a different view and, along with the palm leaf shadowing in the day and colored lights at night, 'Sandpiper Pavilions' has changed this whole area to become a destination plaza.