San Francisco’s famous waterfront asset, the embarcadero pedestrian way, Is slated to become home to one of the most transformative and technologically advanced fireboat stations in the country. The project consists of a glass and metal clad fire station floating on the San Francisco bay directly behind the historic fire station near the embarcadero promenade. Just north of the historic fire station will be an overlook connected to the new fire station offering splendid views of the built and natural environment and an opportunity for award-winning public art. Welcome to the home of the bay star.
Because of the utility and history of San Francisco fireboats the artwork needs to represent aspects of fire station #35, capture the essene of the awesome natural resources surrounding this built environment and represent the civic members lost during the region’s most tragic times. Visually, the bay star utilizes a traditional fireboat tool, firehose nozzles, in order to create a new identity. By enlarging, dissecting and reassembling this quintessential structure, the bay star creates a dynamic architectural shape that references the natural wonders of the San Francisco bay and surrounding environment. In addition to the large bronze sculpture there will be bronze text embedded into the ground plane offering visitors an educational component which will include the names of community members that were lost during the Loma Prieta earthquake and stories about this devastating occurrence and the heroism that followed. The seemingly precarious yet extremely technical approach balanced with the warmth of color and iconic shape creates a powerful, uplifting and memorable experience for pedestrians that highlights the areas unique fireboat history while highlighting the awe-inspiring views of the bay.
Three elements must be present for a fire to ignite; fuel, heat and oxygen. It is the essentiallness of each of these elements, and their combined power, that creates foundation for my artwork proposal, the bay star. The bay star highlights three unique facets of San Francisco fireboat history - firstly, the artwork utilizes a quintessential fireboat element, fireboat nozzles, to create its core identity and experience. Secondly, by strategically repeating and arranging the fireboat nozzles the artwork is able to capture an aquatic aesthetic while highlighting the natural environment, the San Francisco bay, which makes fire boating possible and experience of the area awe-inspiring. Finally, the artwork represents the community members that were lost during the Loma Prieta earthquake while emphasizing the essentialness of fireboats like the phoenix. Together, fire boat identity, symbolism of the natural environment and the representation of our civic members combine to create the bay star.
I chose to work with polished bronze as the primary material of the bay star. Logistically, this material has proven itself as an ideal candidate for low maintenance and longevity in coastal regions and conceptually and experiencially, this material strongly references the brass detailing commonly used in fire equipment while resulting in a visual experience that is positive and uplifting. In additional to the large bronze sculpture, like rays of sun, there will be lines of bronze text embedded into the ground plane and emanating from the sculpture providing passersby information about the unique fireboat history and memorializing community members that perished in the Loma Prierta earthquake. The final artwork will reference the historical, cultural and natural attributes of the setting while complimenting the materials and shapes used in the adjacent built and natural environment. The bay star will be a constructed using a combination of cast, welded and polished bronze with a structural stainless steel interior armature that will be secured to a structural concrete footer.
While the polished bronze material will offer incredible daytime experiences it is important that the artwork has nighttime presence as well. In addition to embedded ground lighting the artwork will have led’s embedded in the artwork core and within each of the bronze nozzles so at night the entire sculpture will vibrantly pulse along the shoreline.
a polished bronze was selected because of its limited maintenance and excellent longevity but also because of its warm golden hue. This vibrant and enduring color will compliment the local architecture, highlight the natural environment and enhance the views of the San Francisco bay.
The bay star will be installed on the waterfront where Harrison st. And the embarcadero pedestrian way intersect. At this intersection is a newly designed pier with an overlook nestled between the San Francisco bay and fire station #35’s vehicle pathway. The artwork will be situated in the center of this overlook area which allows for great visibility from all angles and for various modes of transport. This location offers incredible views of the waterfront, the bay bridge and the San Francisco bay.
View a larger image of the proposal.