Prairie Revival - CODAworx

Prairie Revival

Client: City of Marion Iowa

Location: Marion, IA, United States

Completion date: 2017

Project Team

Placemaking Elements

Mike Carolan

City of Marion Parks Director

Metal Fabrication Team

Jim Dawson

Iowa Metal Fabrication


The artistic vision for the landmark sculpture located at the entrance of Lowe Park Arts & Environment Center starts with the understanding of the origin of the Iowa land cover. The prairie is Iowa’s most diverse and complex ecosystem that once covered approximately 70-85% of the land. Unfortunately, where once the prairie was bountiful it now covers less than 1% of the land. Many factors have been the cause of such demise. These include agricultural conversion of the land, urban sprawl, fire suppression, and others. Basically, the genetic and biological diversity of the prairie is disappearing from the earth. The inspiration for the landmark sculpture not only derives from the beauty of the prairie ecosystem but also from its character, process, and impact its loss is having on the environment.


Prairie Revival, through its artistic expression, strives to engage the community and visitors to the Lowe Park Arts & Environment Center on the importance of the site's ecological heritage. As a gateway to the park, the artwork invites viewers to engage spatially and discover through narrative patterns that dematerialize the organic form of the artwork about the importance of restoring our ecosystems.


The collaborative efforts for the project combined both traditional metal fabrication and crafts with technology. Digital fabrication in conjunction with computational design was imperative for the success of the project. Prairie Revival embodies a sort of Mobius-like spiral that creates complex compound curves which are generally very difficult to fabricate with traditional tools. Our team was able to develop an algorithm that help identify and simplify the constantly changing radii of the artwork creating a beautiful expressive sculpture, which was delivered on time and on budget.