20 August 2010

Anatomy of a Site-Specific Artwork Project


Vanderbilt University medical complex in Nashville, Tennessee, a leader in patient care, medical education, nursing education, and research, just opened its new Critical Care Tower, a 329,000-square-foot multi level addition. The University commissioned the Washington Glass Studio to create cast glass panels for the nurse’s stations on a number of floors within the new hospital.

Working with the architects on the project, the artwork commission was refined. The art panels would have to perform many duties - besides providing a screen to each floor's nurse work area, allowing light to beyond, it would also need to block the viewing of sensitive papers and office equipment, as well as being a striking sculpture that would define the entry of each floor.

Design Concept


The initial concept design for the artwork at each floor's nurse stations.

Preliminary artwork rendering layout. The inspiration was to bring a contemplative sense of nature into the hospital.

We wanted to bring the natural word into the medical center. Our goal was to give the patients and caregivers a place that felt restful – a place of healing and renewal. Our inspiration for the artwork was to have the feel of swirling masses of delicate oak, poplar, tulip, ginko and maple leaves in an autumn breeze. Each leaf is detailed, including curved stems and crisp leaf veins. The different level of the hospital would have unique swirling leaf patterns, allowing for differentiation and orientation.


One of the cast float glass panels inside the kiln.


Studio artist Nicole Puzan cleans and preps the cooled and annealed glass panel.

The kilncasting process started with making one-of-a-kind molds inside the kilns. The glass is placed atop the mold, and then fired to temperatures up to 1600 degrees F, and then annealed - over two days. The glass is then removed, cleaned and rough areas are ground and polished. As the panels were sequential, each section was mapped out and compared to each companion panel.

Typical nurse station cast artglass panel.


Typical nurse station reverse.


Detail of cast glass leaf pattern.

Bold
Front view of artwork.


View of panels showing leaf detailing.

The Washington Glass Studio artglass project team: Tim Tate, Michael Janis, Erwin Timmers and Nicole Puzan and Robert Kincheloe.

1 comment:

Paula said...

As a radiologist, parent of a vanderbilt med grad and former glass student of tate and janis, I think this rocks. So Beautiful..