St. Louis, MO
2023 Merit Award, ASLA St. Louis
The Art on Campus program is a percent-for-art program at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum of Washington University, and a growing collection of public artworks by nationally and internationally recognized artists. Arbolope Studio has been engaged by the University over a number of years to provide landscape design and siting design for the installation of public artworks for this program, culminating most recently with the installation of Chakaia Booker’s Shaved Portions in the summer of 2022. Additional artists include Ayse Erkmen, Inigo Mañglano-Ovalle, and Dan Graham.
Collaborating with the curatorial team and artists, Arbolope has carefully considered the formal qualities of each artwork, placing the campus and sculptures in dialogue with one another through their site design. Taken together, all 4 collaborations between WUSTL, the artists, and Arbolope prove the value of promoting the generative intersection of art, education, and design.
Weather Field No. 2 is the second iteration of a site-specific work by the Chicago-based artist Inigo Mañglano-Ovalle, consisting of 46 stainless steel poles arranged in a highly ordered diamond. Each pole is topped with a weather vane and an anemometer, which all come together to produce an unpredictable microclimate within the installation space.
The sculpture is prominently placed at the center of Millstone Plaza, an important northern entrance to Washington University’s campus. The sculpture is set within a “composed field” of monolithic liriope plants, forming an elegant evergreen foundation from which the poles appear to weightlessly emerge .
The careful alignment of the plants reflects the geometric sculptural layout, while also introducing subtle variations in height, color and density that are natural for plant material. Bursts of color in the spring from tall allium bulbs and in ate summer from liriope contribute to the dynamic quality of the piece by giving it seasonal visual interest.
Additional project components such as a thin stainless steel metal edge, sculptural lighting, a drainage strategy, and complex structural elements were highly coordinated to subtly but effectively function within the tightly packed site without detracting from the artist’s vision for the sculpture.