New ASU classroom building wrapped in glass art curtain

Immense glass panels with etched inscriptions are being placed around the six-story Lattie F. Coor Classroom Building under construction on the Arizona State University campus and due for completion in January.

It's either one of the biggest pieces of art in the state or one of the most unique building embellishments.Or both.

"This is a first example on our campus where a work of art is incorporated into a building's design," said Dianne Cripe, ASU public art director. "We will consider this as part of the public art program and the public art collection."

The university has set aside $204,000 for the project, Cripe said.

By law, ASU must set aside 0.5 percent of a new building's cost for art.

There now are 16 pieces of public art scattered around the ASU campus.

Chicago artist B.J. Krivanek designed the glass curtain, which will wrap around the eastern and western sides of the building and parts of the northern and southern sides.

Textual symbols are etched on the inside surface of the glass curtain. The "fragments of languages," Krivanek said, are based upon but not literally represent Asian, Native American and Latin-based writing systems.

"Imprinted as a translucent white scrim on the glass, the inscriptions will cast shadows on the panels a few inches behind, creating a subtle bas relief," Krivanek said in an e-mail.

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."

Faculty, staff and students stopped Monday to ponder the new artwork on the Coor building, which is named after ASU's ex-president and is on Forest Mall.

"I like the universal language style," said Jessie Montoya, 20.

"It's a good idea to use art in architecture," said Kimberly Pope, 23.

"It looks academic," said Hope Larsen, 25.

600450 New ASU classroom building wrapped in glass art curtain
Date: 3 April 2003

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