Client: Tualatin Development Commission and the City of Tualatin
Location: Tualatin, OR, United States
Completion date: 2011
Artwork budget: $375,000
Studio Art Direct
This stunning installation includes an 18′ high original bronze sculpture of seven life-size 1/2 geese taking flight from a wetland pond backed by a 20-ton hand-crafted natural rock sign. The design is an homage to the Native American history of the city with geese representing the spirit guide of community and shared leadership. The sculpture is incorporated into a water feature which brings the natural environment the city is known for out to its hardscaped gateway – as a hint of what beauty lies ahead.
The goals was to meet several important criteria: Bronze and rock are natural elements that can withstand the test of time and have extremely low operating costs and few maintenance requirements. A bronze sculpture can last 1000 years or more and has the ability to be extraordinarily graceful and soulful with elegance communicated from all directions and angles. Because this is a heavily trafficked area, the feature needed to have height which we created through connecting the wing tips of the geese. Finally, the bronze sculpture is the element that pulled the entire design together. As a whole, the design speaks to nature and the beautiful wetlands, bird reserves and rivers that weave through the city. As a story, the bronze geese speak to the value of community. They share the leadership roll in flight, never leave a fallen comrade, congregate in groups that can reach the tens of thousands and together strive for the greater good. Guided by the motto "in silence lies strength" geese have big plans, by climbing steadily, go far. This story is intended to be passed on to generations as reverence to nature.
Rip Caswell was selected as the artist for this project once Studio Art Direct had determined the final design concept yet before the proposal was submitted. This allowed us to work closely with Rip to create a realistic budget and rendering of the concept. Once we were awarded the contract, we worked closely with Rip to create a to-scale pinch model of the design that detailed the integration of the rock sign especially as it pertained to the necessary concrete footings and sleeves for the bronze installation. This pinch model also helped the final approval processes at city council meetings and served as a critical model for the structural engineers to determine windloads and seismic calculations as well as installation connections. Also of critical concern was the seamless integration of the 20-ton rock, the 1000 lb sculpture and the water feature which all had to fit perfectly together as the installation occurred at night with cranes and two major road closures. One wrong element would have derailed the entire installation. The artist's commission had to be perfectly executed and completed on-time and on-budget - which it was.
On this project collaboration, project management, very detailed models, to-scale planview and elevation drawings were all extremely important. Studio Art Direct worked closely with structural and civil engineers, city and county departments of transportation, parks and planning as well as the artists who created the pond, rock feature and sculpture to incorporate every detail into one comprehensive design. This design served as the template for all the team members hired by Studio Art Direct to complete the monument on-budget, on-time and in accordance with the concept which was approved by the City commissioners and people of Tualatin.