The Oculus

Submitted by Bobby Zokaites

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Client: Phoenix Country Day School

Location: Paradise Valley, AZ, United States

Completion date: 2016

Artwork budget: $50,000

Project Team

Artist

Bobby Zokaites

Client

Phoenix Country Day School

Architect

Doug Brown

Overview

The Oculus Project, completed October 2015 is a prime example of “place-making” today. Through a charette process, students were asked for input, eventually deciding on a spiral agave as a design concept. Then working with the architect, Doug Brown, I designed and manufactured this Object specifically for the Phoenix Country Day School.

Goals

Teachers at the school, (Nathan Lewis and Lauren Strohacker), guided students through a charette process, deciding to use a spiral agave as a design concept. Using Nathan Lewis' conceptual drawings as a starting point, I designed and fabricated this structure. The Challenge was that it sits in a breezeway which connects new construction with old, the site is neither inside or outside, the particularities of lighting were a concern, but this also effected construction, because of outdoor exposure. this breezeway serves as the south entrance to their academic buildings, which is called "The walk of Champions." The Oculus compliments both the strength and elegance of the school.

Process

The Oculus is a permanent, 20’ diameter architecturally-integrated work commissioned by the Phoenix Country Day School. For this project, students brain-stormed the design concept and conceived of a spiral agave as the basis for the design concept. The initial design of the project was developed using CAD software, so that material, engineering, and pragmatic insight could be solicited from the architect, contractor, as well as the school’s board. One challenging design problem was dealing with the persistent Arizona sun; I worked with material vendors and structural engineers to resolve issues related to thermal expansion and UV exposure that impacted the safety and longevity of the sculpture.