Measure

1997, Barbara McCarren. Venice Crossroads Center. From the artist's description (courtesy of Barbara McCarren):

Commissioning Body: City of Los Angeles/Crown Realty and Development, 1997.

Collaborative team members: Janek Tabencki Dombrowa of JTD Architects and Katherine Spitz of Katherine Spitz Associates, Landscape Architecture.

Project Description:

The artwork is comprised of three lighting fixtures and a water element designed to reflect the concept of measurement, specifically: time, weight, distance, and volume.

The immediate inspiration for this project was derived from a plan view of the proposed construction. On this particular drawing, the buildings appear massed in such a way to emphasize the dynamic pattern of parking spaces. The series of parking spaces, composed of parallel and perpendicular lines read as equal units, like scales on a ruler. In addition the site includes part of the old rails for the Red Car Line, running down Exposition Blvd., that also read as a series of parallels and perpendiculars. In further discussion with the project developer, architect, landscape architect, and engineer, the dominance of the concept of measurement surfaced.

The concept of measurement is specific to the project at inception, and determines the project's success at completion. At inception, the developer and retailers consider volume literally in terms of scales. Each determines distance from a target market, the capacity of the project to serve the target market and ease of access by the target market. During the design phase, the architect considers mass, volume, height and scale of the buildings. Engineers with various areas of expertise evaluate aspects of the project including weight, stress, fatigue factors, and foot-candles. Finally, the target market, or shoppers, are concerned with their own measurements such as time and distance from the shopping center location, access to the facilities there, and the number of services offered at this location. These various forms of measurement all combine to determine the success of the project and these gauges are the conceptual basis for this public art work.


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