Torris – Belle Pre

Submitted by Cochran Studio

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Client: Equity Residential

Location: Alexandria, VA, United States

Completion date: 2014

Artwork budget: $100,000

Project Team

Artist

William Cochran

Cochran Studio

Industry Resource

Peters Glasstudio

Peters Glasstudio

Landscape Architect

Parker Rodriguez, Inc

Parker Rodriguez, Inc

Industry Resource

John Coventry Lighting

John Coventry Lighting

Client

Equity Residential

Equity Residential

Overview

Torris was installed at the end of 2013 at the old Belle Pre Bottle Company, a glass factory in Alexandria, VA, which began operating in 1902. Filling an entire city block, the complex was transformed into an residential complex by Equity Residential, who commissioned the work. The sculpture is viewed every day from all angles, including windows up to the seventh story level on all sides of the plaza.

Goals

The goals were to create a vital focal point for a large public plaza – at a scale commensurate with the large space – that brings life to the end of the plaza that is often in shadow.

The sculpture works against expectations for a single, static, freestanding sculpture by creating a cluster of canted forms that are alive: reflecting the buildings around them in complimentary colors, they change as the viewer moves, and they cast color on the ground that moves as the sun moves.

The sculpture is anchored into site history via the use of antique rails that once carried millions of glass bottles that were produced in the factory. Three dichroic glass fins were installed on each 16' salvaged train rail, and they animate the dark end of the central plaza with brilliant color and light that changes mercurially according to viewpoint, weather and the sun’s position. The light is gathered by the semi-mirrored fins from the sunlit end of the plaza, and concentrated in the shadowed portion of the plaza. The work is illuminated at night with a special lighting system.

Process

The artist worked closely with the building's developer to understand and express the authentic story of the site. The artist also worked closely with the landscape architect in the siting, orientation and spacing of the seven sculptural forms and with the LA and the lighting consultant in the development of its catenary lighting system. The preparation of the rails and the sculpture's installation was carried out by the project's developer.

Additional Information

Few projects with so many parties involved in the technical end, including the welders, construction workers, , glass fabricators, glass installers and lighting consultant meshed together as smoothly as on this project.