Client: Berg and Berg
Completion date: 2000
Artwork budget: $180,000
_Solar Matrix is comprised of 362 pyrex glass rods capped with dichroic glass lenses. Each rod extends through a 15” thick black concrete wall. Water falls over both sides of the wall, cascading around each glass rod to create a rumbling wall of white water. The bright yellow reflection at the end of each pyrex rod sparkles as one passes by and transforms into a blue color at mid-day.
The dichroic glass lenses create complimentary colored highlights for this one story water feature. The colored glass rods give this water sculpture the appearance of a large “Lite-Bright”.
Located near a major highway, the campus cafe and outdoor dining cafe could have been overwhelmed by traffic noise. One goal of the public art installation was to mitigate the sounds of the highway through the use of falling water. Another goal was to mask the appearance of a large concrete wall surrounding the campus emergency generators. The biggest challenge had to do with the fact that the plaza faces north and Studio Winterich's installations typically need daylight to activate the installations.
Given the north facing plaza, the solution for activating the water wall involved pulling light through a concrete wall by means of pyrex glass rods. The ends of the glass rods were shaped to deliver the greatest amount of sunlight through the wall. _Solar Matrix functions as a solar calender. Due the to height of the wall and sun angles, the very top row of glass rods are illuminated during the winter solstice while the entire wall of glass is lit from behind on the summer solstice.