Strata - CODAworx


Submitted by Dan Perry

Client: City of Urbandale

Location: Urbandale, IA, United States

Completion date: 2016

Artwork budget: $65,000

Project Team

Public Art Agent

Jan Herke

City of Urbandale


Shawn Poellet


Dan Perry


Commissioned in conjunction with the City of Urbandale's Centennial, Strata is a site-specific artwork that tells the story Urbandale while nodding towards its future. Spanning nearly 200 feet, the artwork features ten limestone blocks adorned with sculptural elements suggesting a railroad emerging from the prairie, culminating at a large sculpture. The artwork engages viewers with dynamic forms composed of architectural and geographical references unique to Urbandale and features LED's creating an energized space at night. Materials: Stainless steel, heat colored stainless steel, aluminum, paint, LEDs, limestone Sculpture: 26ft x 12ft x 8ft; Site dimensions: 30ft x 200ft.


The site, a large green space, was selected for its proximity to civic offices and the city library. My goal was to energize the site with a combination of integrated landscape and sculptural elements to reflect the city's energy, but also tell its story. The site was designed to engage pedestrians as they enter the civic buildings, but also present a dynamic landmark from a busy thoroughfare. The sculpture features programmable LED's to create different experiences in the day and night. Strata refers to layers of history that serve as the foundation for cultivating our future. Elements of the sculpture reference Urbandale's unique architecture and geographical features as well as mechanical components of trains such as gears and wheels; a nod to Urbandale’s past as a streetcar hub. The site is composed to suggest growth, culminating with forms emphasizing an upward flourish alluding to future growth of community. The sculpture “speaks” to the similarities between a machine (such as a locomotive) and a community - each has several moving parts that need to work together to achieve a goal.


I worked with city planners, landscape architects, landscapers, theatrical lighting technicians and others to develop this project. I also worked with community stakeholders to make it unique to the city. I fabricated the artwork over the course of 6 weeks, hiring 3 of my university students to assist with fabrication and installation.