stephen glassman sculpts sinuous steel riverscape at BIG's via 57 west in new york
stephen glassman sculpts sinuous steel riverscape at BIG’s via 57 west in new york
at the main entrance of bjarke ingels‘ via 57 west — the tetrahedral residential and mixed-use site that marks BIG’s first project in the americas — an eight-storey artistic installation evokes the movement of the adjacent hudson river. stephen glassman studio has unveiled ‘flows two ways’, a sixty-by-sixty foot aluminum, stainless steel, and rolled metal artwork that welcomes residents, visitors, and passerby to the complex.
all images © chun Y lai, courtesy of stephen glassman
commissioned by the durst organization, glassman’s site-specific work is named after a loose translation of the hudson river’s native american name: muh-he-kun- ne-tuk — ‘the river that flows both ways’. the installation serves as a symbol of two forces that are separate yet deeply interwoven — the river and the city. sited on the western wall of helena 57 west, facing and signifying the VIA entrance, the 3,600 square foot work draws viewers’ eyes toward the sky, across the topography of the buildings, and to the open space of the hudson river.
‘as a new york native, the movement to save the hudson river was formative in my growth as a young artist intent on creating works of scale and social impact,’ glassman’s said. ‘flows two ways expresses an enduring regard for earth and nature, a love of new york, and a spirit of creativity and generosity that is at the cornerstone of the durst family.’
the cascading forms are made structurally possible through innovative metal technologies that form the sculpture’s organic shapes. glassman first created small studies in stone and bamboo. alongside an engineering, architecture, and design team, the artist crafted a layered construction and anchoring system. 32,000-pound jigsaw puzzle pieces are embedded into the existing helena wall, with 35 interlocking aluminum panels, nearly 400 sixty-foot pipe clusters rolled and flowing in three axes, and faceted metal ‘boulders.’ a sliding plate system that largely floats the 16-ton piece off the building accommodates thermal expansion and forces generated by wind, rain, snow, and ice loads. the sculpture’s palette, derived through color studies of the historic hudson river school of painting, transforms with the sun’s changing angles and mimics the water’s glow at sunset.
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