KaleidoSCAPE

Completion: 2013, Finalist

Location: Downtown Fairbanks Greenspace, Fairbanks, AK

Description: For the Downtown Fairbanks Greenspace civic art project, we propose to make the surrounding land, sky, city, and changing seasons into part of the work itself. We envision a sculptural gesture that invites viewers to look through it, not just at it, drawing their gaze to the natural beauty around them.

KaleidoSCAPE features a sculptural assemblage of steel triangular kaleidoscopic forms, angled outward and upward to the sky like a telescope. Many of the triangular tubes are capped with dichroic colored glass while the inner surface is highly polished to a mirror finish. The triangular tubes become monumental kaleidoscopes that offer visitors a different view of Fairbanks, the sky, and the natural world around them.

As viewers move around the sculpture and look through different tubes, they discover beautiful kaleidoscopic views of the city. Certain tubes draw the viewer’s eye towards city landmarks, including the Immaculate Conception Church, the first church built in Fairbanks in 1904. The surrounding landscape, architecture, moving cars and bikes, pedestrians and sky are as much part of the work as the built sculpture.

The work also facilitates social interaction, as viewers see one another through a kaleidoscopic view. In this way, the viewer becomes an integral part of the installation and its complex reflections. Moving around the work, viewers catch different angles of the dichroic glass, creating a composition of white punctuated by juxtapositions of changing color. The tubular forms also amplify ambient sounds (wind, birds, cars, speech), adding to the sensory experience for visitors.

Reaching upwards like a telescope, the sculpture reinterprets the sky, stars, and the stunning Aurora Borealis in kaleidoscopic patterns. The highly reflective glass surfaces provide the sculpture with buoyancy in the ambient light conditions, abstracting the sky and planting it on earth. The work makes use of Fairbanks' dramatic changes from bright summers to dark winters.

Using geometry and simple forms, KaleidoSCAPE creates a visual experience that connects viewers to the city, landscape, and sky. We propose that this sculpture dynamically engages the natural beauty of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Architect: METALAB