Shifting Topographies - CODAworx

Shifting Topographies

Client: City of Oakland, Cultural Arts & Marketing Commissioning Agency

Location: Oakland, CA, United States

Completion date: 2015

Project Team


Dan Corson

Industry Resource

Heavy Industries

Landscape Architect

Sasaki Associates


Inspired by the rolling hills and the ripples of the San Francisco Bay, Shifting Topographies is an engaging public art piece located at the entrance of a local Oakland transit station. Shifting Topographies was first sculpted and shaped out of a high density EPS foam, which was followed by a hard coat of ployurea. Once those steps were completed, the wall was then painted with a unique emerald colour changing paint.


Inspiration for Shifting Topographies began with the shifting patterns and colors of the rolling Oakland hills (green to gold) and at the macro scale the ripples of the adjacent San Francisco Bay (gray-blue-green). Other inspirations came from the flashy paint jobs in the car culture of this community and the signature Blue BART station for which the art marked the entrance.


Heavy Industries worked closely with artist Dan Corson to bring to life his vision for the "Shifting Topographies" project - a translation of the surrounding landscape of the bay area greeting visitors to the 19th street BART station in Oakland. Corson utilized Heavy Industries' unique turn-key "Plan-Build" solutions to realize the project, starting with his initial ideas through to design, fabrication and installation. The City of Oakland, Cultural Arts & Marketing Commissioning Agency commissioned the work to add cultural and geographic elements of their community to an otherwise stark concrete wall. Public engagement with this work over the past 3 years has been very high and Shifting Topographies has become a beloved icon of the area.