Client: City of Boulder Office of Arts & Culture
Location: Boulder, CO, United States
Completion date: 2020
Artwork budget: $430,000
Living Design Studios
City of Boulder
Corten Steel. 16′ h. x 40′ x 325′. Three steel sculptures transpose the exact angle of repose (55°)––and the geographic orientation (north-south)––of Boulder Colorado’s iconic Flatirons into the heart of the city. Viewed from the side the forms line up exactly with the geologic formations in the distance. From other angles the large openings on each sculpture create interactive windows that frame the sky, the park, and the mountains beyond. As one moves around the sculptures, changing views of their shapes and angles create a visually dynamic experience that unfolds as one travels through the park.
The landscape was already designed and installed when the artwork was commissioned so the challenge was to integrate the art into the existing spaces. The concept connects the downtown civic park with the region's environment and geology using a bold abstract vocabulary. The sharp angles and rectilinear shapes compliment the curving paths and contours of the park, and the sculptures were sited on the tops of the park berms to enhance their scale and impact, just as the real Flatirons emerge from the foothills.
The artist worked with the Boulder of Office and Culture, other city staff, local engineers, fabricators and contractors to realize the project. Civil engineers developed the structural aspects, while the artist worked concurrently with city planners and staff to determine the best siting for the sculptures. Hydrology engineers were employed for complex flood plain modeling due to the proximity of Boulder Creek. Living Design Inc., a local metal fabrication company constructed the sculptures and helped manage site prep, foundations, installation and landscape modifications.