Client: Texas State University
Location: San Marcos, TX, United States
Completion date: 2017
Shane Allbritton, Norman Lee
Design Optimization / Project Management
“Vessels” features water jet cut stainless steel forms that poetically evoke both leaves and canoes. The patterns are organic leaf designs that have been parametrically generated to create a visual effect that allows sunlight to pass through in a gradated way. Long sculptural oars reinforce the vessels metaphor and position the water jet cut forms above viewers, creating dynamic shadow patterns that change throughout the day. The sculpture is powder coated white to visually accentuate itself from the surrounding environment during the day and when dramatically up lit at night.
The artwork is located in the public space between Moore Street and the front of a new residential complex and intended to be a welcoming icon to the community building. The artwork was required to be harmonious with the natural, geological, ecological surroundings, as well as the diverse cultures at home at Texas State University. Inviting interaction with the general public, the piece was also expected to be highly visible, even from a distance, and prominent and proportionate to its surroundings.
Working with the architects of the new residence hall, our team, RE:site and Metalab, were able to coordinate several aspects of seamless integration into the campus landscape. In terms of the thematic content of the artwork, we worked very closely with Texas State University to identify local imagery and themes that were relevant to the University's cultural, geographic, and ecological identity. The San Marcos River is considered “The Heart of Texas State University.” Using the River as a metaphor for the student’s journey, the sculpture's forms are arranged in a path-like configuration to suggest both leaves and canoes navigating along a water current.