Design / Placemaking
steel A is a conceptual place-making proposal for the Downtown Public Art Ideas Competition, an interactive iconic Public Art piece for Albuquerque’s Civic Plaza.
This piece is about the balance and tension that is evident in the daily life of Albuquerque. It is about the fragileness of the desert environment and the strength of the timeless landscape. It represents the intricate relationships between man and nature, between old and new, tradition and trend.
The basic form of the piece is triangular, alluding to the mountains, stretching up to the endless blue of the sky. The legs of the triangle are made of corten steel. The east leg is conical and grows gracefully from the earth, representing nature. Like the sun, it moves from east to west and precariously supports the western leg, which represents man. The western leg is angular and slices through the earth as it rises just reaching above the eastern leg, as man constantly strives to conquer nature. However, from below, it is clear that the western leg is precariously balanced on the eastern edge, solely reliant on nature for support. This tension is the heart of Albuquerque. It is the effort that man makes to survive in the desert, to change nature, to create the familiar in an unfamiliar landscape with general blindness to the ever-enduring strength and support of nature.
The piece is playful as “A” for Albuquerque. A viewing platform creates the crosspiece for the character, comprised of a circular disk made from metal grates, and allows the viewer to see the mountains beyond the city – a view otherwise compromised by the built environment. The metal grates allow the viewer to stand securely, yet feel the immediacy of the ground below.