30th Parallel

Submitted by Bent Fabrication

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Client: Baylor College of Medicine

Location: Houston, TX, United States

Completion date: 2014

Artwork budget: $70,000

Project Team

Artist

John Knott

Bent Fabrication

Industry Resource

John Knott

Bent Fabrication

Art Consultant

Charles White

Skyline Art Services

Overview

This wall sculpture is located in the lobby of Baylor College of Medicine's new hospital in the Houston Medical Center. It was designed to have a strong presence utilizing a relatively small wall space compared the scale of the lobby. 13' by 11' by 15". Hand shaped and polished aluminum panels, neon, wood,

Goals

Baylor College of Medicine is located in Houston, TX which is on the 30th parallel North. Baylor is the new home for the National School of Tropical Medicine. Baylor works in conjunction with hospitals in cities like Cairo, Jerusalem, Baghdad, Delhi, Shanghai and others that also sit on the 30th parallel. This sculpture celebrates that affiliation.

Process

The art consultant on this project was actually the one who told me about the 30th parallel's importance to the hospital so the design was an easy sell. There was a bit of back and forth about the shapes we would use. I wanted far more abstract shapes, the consultant wanted something that looked more like an actual globe flattened against the wall. We settled on a Sinusoidal projection, which is a combination of the two. Originally designed to be fiberglass with a polished gel-coat finish, we decided to go with aluminum panels because the the individual panels would create the latitude and longitude lines. There is a 1" gap cut across all panels where the 30th parallel is. It is further accentuated with blue neon. The whole piece stands off the wall 1". The white neon behind creates the halo effect which gives the illusion of the piece floating.

Additional Information

The aluminum panels were made with a tool called an English Wheel. It puts compound curves in sheet metal by continuously tracking the metal back and forth. Each panel took anywhere from 3 to 6 hours to shape.