This project began with an interest in challenging the typical notion of the parking structure as an unappreciated infrastructural typology by transforming the new Eskenazi Hospital parking structure into a binary, synthetic terrain. During the design process, an interest in camouflage evolved into an approach that would create a very large dynamic, interactive element for the City. Rather than an actively kinetic approach, with all of the inevitable maintenance and longevity concerns that accompany those types of project, we were instead working towards an approach that capitalizes on the fact that most viewers would, themselves, be moving on bicycles or in automobiles. Thus, the design ultimately became something that offers a degree a variability of color and form as one passes by the project. The awareness of this, interestingly enough, occurs whether someone is directly watching or even just seeing it out of their periphery of vision
The effect of a field of 7,000 angled metal panels in conjunction with an articulated east/west color strategy creates a dynamic façade system that offers observers a unique visual experience depending on their vantage point and the pace at which they are moving through the site. In this way, pedestrians and slow moving vehicles within close proximity to the hospital will experience a noticeable, dappled shift in color and transparency as they move across the hospital grounds, while motorists driving along W. Michigan Street will experience a faster, gradient color shift which changes depending on their direction of travel.
To facilitate the effect, a total of 18 different panels sizes/angles are used throughout. They range from 300mm tall x 600mm long to 300mm tall x 1m long. There approximately 7,000 of these panels. The color scheme is quite simple as the west side received a deep blue color, while the east side receives a golden yellow color. The angles, alone, create the illusion of different hues.
The body of this piece is loosely derived from the image of a boat on water, and is designed to remind the viewer that books (and education in general) can be a form of transportation. Books can take us to other places and times, offer solace and distraction, arm us with the tools and information we need to solve problems in our daily lives, and make us more empathetic creatures. In the same way that Eskenazi Health’s rooftop vegetable garden (called “Sky Farm”) highlights healthy eating and wellness concepts while providing patients and employees an opportunity to enjoy nature, this design promotes the mental wellness and growth that comes with reading while giving users an opportunity to directly interact with a piece of art.
So much consideration went into the sustainable engineering of the new Eskenazi Health building that it felt perfectly appropriate to consider environmental impact in the materials for this piece. All of the lumber used will be locally sourced, salvaged material—most coming directly from Indianapolis buildings, some of it even coming from the crates that Eskenazi Health used to move and temporarily house the historic art collection from the old hospital—a nice tie back into the community, and a connection between the newest piece of art in the hospital and the rest of the collection.
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