Transition Portal - CODAworx

Transition Portal

Client: Nevada Dept. of Transportation

Location: Reno, NV, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $400,000

Project Team


Kate Raudenbush

Kate Raudenbush LLC

Client- Department of Transportation

John L'Etoile

Nevada DOT

production and project management

Seth Alexander

Ames Construction, NV

Steel Fabrication/ Rolling

Chuck Hamm

C.C. Iron, NV

Structural sculpture Engineering

Donath Picardo

Pierline Engineering, UT

Site Engineering

Matt Horrocks

Horrocks Engineering, NV

installation labor

Paolo/ Tutto Ferro

Tutto Ferro, Reno, NV

Stainless steel fabrication

Chris Williams

Icon Fabrication, Brooklyn NY


“A symbolic rite of passage to honor humanity’s transition to a sustainable and harmonious technological future.” Transition Portal is a monumental gateway sculpture intended to herald the arrival of future technology and its creators. Situated at the entrance of the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, its 30-foot tall, 15-foot wide illuminated presence welcomes us to a place of visionary new beginnings.Transition Portal’s symbolic tubular shape of curved weathered steel honors the earth and the traditional mining industries of Nevada’s past, while it embraces a gothic set of laser-cut stainless steel doorways, who’s otherworldly hieroglyphics symbolically leads us onward and upward to a new thresholds of energy and emerging technology. It is a hopeful and futuristic gateway, literally and symbolically filled with light. Transition Portal is intended to inspire and illustrate the transformational path of human evolution towards a sustainable future. Dimensions 30′ high x 15′ wide x 12′ deep


The objective: artistic placemaking for the Nevada DOT. Create an inspiring 30' tall ‘gateway sculpture’ at the entrance of the new Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, NV, to mark the opening of the largest Tech park in the USA, home of the visionary Tesla Gigafactory. The Artwork needed to resonate with the DOT landscaping, the harsh desert environment, with wide temperature fluctuations and high winds, and be made with robust metals with 50+ years of longevity, and include sustainable lighting with nighttime design interest, and a limited sculpture footprint in the DOT right of way area, all without sacrificing the aesthetic design or allegorical impact of the work.
My creative goal was also social and emotional in nature: to give travelers the feeling that they had just arrived at a dramatic threshold where the mysterious future was made real through the technological efforts of humankind. I strove to create art as allegory: a symbolic portal as a visionary touchstone to remind us to chose the right path. Art can be a conduit to instill a feeling of purpose and hope on our evolutionary Quest, and honor those who work to build a sustainable future for all of us.


The Nevada DOT and Ames Construction project management, Horrocks and Pierline engineers, steel fabricators, electricians and the artist all collaborated to meet strict DOT requirements for materials, 102 mph wind loads, lighting, platform specs, fabrication and long term maintenance of a permanent public artwork, while not sacrificing the aesthetic impact of the artwork.
The laser cut designs and symbols were all researched and drawn by hand by the artist, then translated onto the 3D model . The structural engineer and artist made edits to the designs to preserve the strength of the form for wind load calculations, and yet make allowances for the aesthetics to balance and hide the engineering.
The sculpture was made in 2 states: Nevada and New York. The corten side wings were created by CC Iron in NV the stainless steel center towers were created in 3 different shops in NYC and trucked to Reno, NV where finishing surface touches, lighting and wiring was installed.
On-site installation took 4 days with a Reno crew of 15+. On opening night, our team joyously activated the lights to an otherworldly gasp, and the public was ritually invited to walk through the portal and imagine that humanity had created a sustainable and harmonious technological future.

Additional Information

Each level of the central stainless steel doorway design represents a different level of materiality, evolving upward in the spacial arrangement of Phi, or the golden ratio, one of the blueprints for all creation. The four doorways are each shown with a symbolic set of hieroglyphics, representing stages of a connective evolution. The largest uppermost arch represents consciousness, the cosmos, orbits of planets and the laws of physics like gravitational fields and electromagnetism. The next arch represents our physical earth: the waves and particles of matter that make up the tangible curves of our mountains, waters, wind and fire that are the elements of our planet.  The next archway represents humanity: our common DNA  that bonds all of us as one people, and the cave paintings we created as the first way we communicated to each other in symbols. The next archway represents technology: the particles of information, the circuitry, the satellite and wireless signals that transmit this new shared intelligence. The final complex triangle symbol was created as the keystone. It represents the harmony that needs to be created throughout these 4 levels of existence, where our collective field of Energy, our Earth, our Humanity and our evolving Technology is held in balance.