Client: Washington State Arts Commission in partnership with Auburn School District
Location: Auburn, WA, United States
Completion date: 2018
Artwork budget: $85,000
Derix Art Glass Consultants, LLC
Kenn von Roenn
Public Art Agent
Washington State Arts Commission
I removed three existing windows in the Commons of Auburn High School and replaced them with insulated art glass windows. These windows are a total of 17'H x 5'W x 1″D and glass artwork is 17' x 3'. The imagery is composed of hand-blown, laminated sheet glass, painted vitreous enamels, and sandblasted elements.
The committee invited me to create glass for a building that had already been completed. It was critical to me that the artwork integrate structurally and aesthetically while not 'matching'. After evaluating ways to introduce glass, I asked for permission to remove existing windows. Other solutions were too expensive or visually distracting. The lead architect of the building endorsed my idea. From a design standpoint, I tried to tie my work into the highly structured interior by repeating vertical and linear elements. With color and form, I wanted to add organic and colorful elements to a highly linear, low-chroma, and sedate environment.
Initially, I met with five groups of students to get a sense of their day and what they might like to see in their school. I asked about their preferences for imagery, palette and energy. Next I met with the committee. I took into account what I heard and observed and began drawing. During the development and fabrication stages, I worked intensively with my fabricator and their consultant to achieve the outcomes I sought.
A rainy day makes a good backdrop to the windows. A blue or modeled sky creates another look. When direct sun shines through, the windows cast diverse imagery and color into the space. They come alive!