ASU glass façade wins public art accolade

The etched glass curtain surrounding a new Arizona State University building recently was recognized as one of the nation's outstanding public art projects.The glass façade of Lattie F.

Coor Hall, featuring text fragments designed by Chicago artist B.J. Krivanek, was highlighted in Americans for the Arts Public Art Network's "2004 Year in Review," a guide highlighting outstanding art projects.

When the building was under design, the university set aside $204,000 for an art project, ASU spokeswoman Diane Cripe said. By ordinance, ASU must set aside 0.5 percent of a new building's cost for art, she said.

Krivanek etched textual symbols on the inside surface of the glass curtain.

"It is sandblasted on the inside surface of the glass," Cripe said. "Then there is an opaque piece of glass about eight inches in from the curtain wall where there is etching so depending on the time of day the text will cast a shadow on the opaque piece beneath it. This is an artwork that varies day by day, depending on where the sun is and depending on the weather."

In an interview before the building opened in the spring, Krivanek said the "fragments of languages" etched into the glass are based upon but do not literally represent Asian, Native American and Latin-based writing systems.

The idea, Krivanek said, is to symbolize with the etchings how "the university looks out toward the social landscape with powers of observation and it reflects interpretations back toward the community, as any glass surface will."

Krivanek also added the work Explore cut in steel and suspended from the roof of the building. As the sun passes overhead, the text's shadow sweeps across the west façade.

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