The Pendulum Project, 1998

William Porter Hall, Adams State College, Alamosa, Colorado

A site responsive installation for a math and science building on a college campus

Project Description

This new math and science building was designed with a Foucault pendulum hanging through the openings in the three floors of its lobby. The site-responsive art piece was designed to create a context for the pendulum, a scientific instrument with a variety meanings. The design reinforces the pendulum’s meaning as a way of measuring time and as a metaphor for learning. The pit of the pendulum contains a marble mosaic depicting a hand planting a seed, and it is surrounded by granite tiles that are etched with symbols for the scientific disciplines taught inside the building. Above the pit, in the open spaces between the building’s floors, are designs with “frames of reference” for concepts about time. In conjunction with the marble mosaic, these frames represent human ways of measuring time – complimentary to time as marked by a pendulum. Crowning the installation is a suspended aluminum leaf that is surrounded by smaller airbrushed leaves on the ceiling. These leaves are the culmination of the planted seed, and they echo the form of the hand below.