Privately Funded Public Art

There's a nice example of privately funded, architecturally integrated public art going up at Al Solheim's new MachineWorks building in the Pearl District. "Falling Light" incorporates colored concrete blocks into 22x108 feet of the structure's southwest corner facade. The blocks have a nice epoxy glaze that capture and reflect the light ever so subtly.

According to artist Scott Sonniksen, the piece is based on the interplay of light between buildings in a changing urban setting. “The use of reds as the main color is a nod to the many historic brick buildings that once populated this district," he says.

Installation is still underway and will continue through the end of the month. A large mirror will adorn the top of the tiled wall, placed at a slight angle to extend the vertical pattern and connect it with the sky. The piece should be interesting to see at night, too -- with up lighting scheduled to shine on the red columns, and four hot blue airport runway lights at the top.

All of this together is a really fantastic example of how some private developers are really good about integrating publicy accessible artworks as part of their construction projects. (Another great example is the Gerding-Edlen project "Howard's Way" at The Civic.) The City and RACC offer incentives for this kind of voluntary public art, including Floor Area Ratio bonuses for developers who incorporate public art into their projects. In this instance, MachineWorks received a FAR bonus increasing the allowable ratio from 5:1 to 7:1 using the Central City Plan District eco-roof and public art bonus program. The developer dedicated $169,500 to public art, of which 25% is devoted to RACC's Public Art Trust Fund for use anywhere in the Central City; the balance is being used for Sonniksen’s “Falling Light” and a large painting by James Lavadour inside the lobby of the building. RACC reviews and approves these artworks.

By the way, I'm told that MachineWorks will incorporate four levels of Class A office space with a state-of-the-art LA Fitness facility and three levels of parking. The building is located at 1455 NW Northrup, and was the site of many PICA after-parties during the early years of the Time Based Art Festival. The new building is scheduled to open in January 2009.

No comments: