Denver Justice Center Campus and Civic Center District
the Civic Center Axis
The Civic Center Axis area can be made more intelligible. I propose to visually activate the space around
the monumental architectural structures which populate the western part of the
axis. Along Colfax and Fourteenth
Avenues there are and will be various locations for sculptural elements which
can aid in leading the eye around this Civic Center area.
At various points (to be determined in the next stage) sculptural elements
can be integrated with the new architecture in the Civic Center. These
elements should have a corresponding form-language and visually relate to each other.
At the same, time they must be able to function as independent features of the Civic Center.
Along with the curved lines of the
sculptural elements, which are mostly horizontal and askew, they will keep the
eye moving along the avenues. The curved elements will appear intermittently, at
points on the musical bars - the trees.
I propose to make movements like pen strokes in the
air, in sweeping curves, - like those in sketches by Rembrandt. In some cases
they can be used independently of each other, and at other times in combination, to amplify the chosen direction. The curves will be made by bending stainless
steel pipes of various lengths and diameters.
These curvilinear sculptures must embody and manifest space,
with their movements away from the buildings - not curving towards them and enveloping them
- ignoring the space which it is all about. They should act as a
reflector, keeping the movement active and the space in motion. The building's
wall will act as a tangent plane.
As the rolled pipes will be seen from various and continuously changing
angles. They project themselves as dynamic elliptical shapes.
The intangible, thin Denver light was an incentive
for me to want to use stainless steel. I plan to grind the surface
lengthwise to produce bands of reflective surfaces which will give a
glimmering to brilliant effect.
Click to see the spot plan.
Aside from Justice Plaza there are various possible locations along the perimeter of the Civic Center Axis; some of these are functional within the scope of my proposal. To arrive at
a comprehensive proposal, I would need to gather much more information about the
many factors to be taken into account. Here I will name the locations which seem
most interesting at this stage:
- the green spaces around the courthouse and detention center buildings,
- the north wall of the Post Office and Parking Garage Building, which can act as a reflector for
the curved movement initiated by a second curvilinear construction projecting
from Gene Amole Way into the space of Fourteenth Avenue. The upward curve from
street level would be taken up by a single sweeping movement up and away from
the facade of this building.
- the areas, projecting along the north and south axis of Civic Park,
around which Colfax and Fourteenth Avenues turn. These are the focal
points along the axes of both avenues.
As the specific proposals for sculpture in these areas can be developed in
the next phase I have given examples of the type of work I envision here.
Click here to see them.
- The Gene Amole Way location between the detention center and the courthouse - the Plaza. See
the culmination below.
The plaza is the culmination between the detention facility and the
courthouse. Sculpture should be monumental, challenging the scale of the courthouse
and detention center.
The folding glass facade of the courthouse, as it is planned at the
moment, would be a perfect backdrop for the interplay of curved lines in space.
The example sculpture, portrayed in the flyovers, is an example of a
sculpture which is there to be observed. I wish to make an open,
transparent construction which actually invites to be entered - not only to be
seen. To say it even
stronger: a sculpture through which one inevitably goes - like going through a group
construction should have a counterpart inside the atrium of the
courthouse - in the
space between the transparent curtain and the balconies. The morning sunlight
would project onto the walls from the reflective pipes. Spotlights can give the
same result at night.
In order to emphasize the Civic Center Axis, it is not necessary to concentrate
the means to do so within the confines of its exact territory - on the other side of Fourteenth
Avenue, the Post Office and Parking Garage Building flanks the central axis area and offers an opportunity to utilize its north wall which, together with a sculptural element
attached to it, will define the space leading from the courthouse area to Civic Center Park.
The sketches will, I hope, give an idea of
what I mean.