Crystal Walk

Crystal Walk
Crystal Walk

Crystal Walk, 2011

Proposal for pedestrian walkways, University Hospital, San Antonio, Texas.

The river has long been a symbol of the progression of life: from small bubbling mountain streams to raging youth to dissolution at the convergence with the vast ocean. Visitors to the hospital are especially conscious of life’s ebb and flow and their movement along the walkways is a meditation on the current of life’s passage.

The San Antonio River is a crucial part of the life flow of the community. As the River South Management Plan moves forward and the farther reaches of the river are restored to their natural beauty, the River will become a growing presence in the lives of the community. While cyclical flooding is now controlled, the river’s impact on the surroundings reaches far beyond its shores.

My starting place was the language of the hospital architecture. Crystal Walk is a visual conversation with the fountain/river feature right next to the path. The spare geometry and use of straight lines and rectangles of the architecture is married to the organic form of the river in this artwork.

By taking the profile of the San Antonio River and overlaying it onto the pedestrian walkway and fencing, this artwork moves the river in and out of the “frame”. Intense blues and purples give way to paler and warmer colors as the distance from the river itself increases. Just as the lush green gives way to drier and hotter land, the pattern becomes dispersed and more amorphous as the ripples moving out from the river’s edges become fainter. This is a metaphor for losing our way in life, or perhaps stepping out of the strong flow of the current before finding the flow again.

The metal straight lines in both the walkway and the fence serve both as frames of support and obstacles against which the river pushes. We move through life within the boundaries and structure of the world. There is a marriage of the organic forms of nature and our human built structures in Crystal Walk much as we live within the relationship of man made structures in the natural world around us.