Spineway permanent public artwork by MARC FORNES/THEVERYMANY, San Antonio – Texas

May 9th, 2016 by retail design blog

Spineway is a lightweight, self-supported permanent public art structure in San Antonio, developed by custom computational protocols of structural form-finding and descriptive geometry and digitally fabricated. An infrastructural project designed and built to fit the scale of neighborhood play, Spineway is consistent with the studio’s approach of exploring structural performance while catalyzing public places through dynamic and unique spatial experiences.

The structural and construction strategy of Spineway is similar to that of a massive segmental bridge, made by locking together prefabricated pieces. The interdependent structural network is comprised of interdependent catenary arches, in which the stresses and loads of each depend on one another as part of a complete system. It is made of 1,009 ⅛” aluminum shingles, fastened together by 19,429 rivets.

20′ tall, 63′ wide, and 26′ deep, the structure meets the ground on 12 precast concrete feet, all resting on a 280 sq. ft. concrete pad. The prefabricated parts were assembled by a team of five over the course of five days.

Light passes through the artwork’s chiseled surface motif, which is derived from structural stress flows within. The lightweight material, low-maintenance and long-lasting, is painted 22 colors — distinct, yet similar — that amount to the perception of a new unique color in summation, changing with the light over the course of the day. At night, an LED glow invites passersby in.

The permanent artwork provides an iconic gateway to San Antonio’s Woodlawn Lake Park, a popular destination for visitors from throughout the city for over 100 years. It provides a visual link with nearby St. Mary’s University, while symbolically marking the conclusion of Cincinnati Avenue Corridor and the beginning of Park-University Corridor. A conceptual bridge with surrounding neighborhoods, the piece reflects the movement of people from every direction that use the park. Spineway was commissioned through the City of San Antonio’s 2012 Bond Public Art Plan.

MARC FORNES / THEVERYMANY is an art and architecture studio specializing in the intersection of unique, spatial experience and structural performance. The method of the studio is deeply rooted in computational research and digital fabrication. Follow the studio on Instagram: @theverymany

Commissioned by: City of San Antonio
Photo Credits: MARC FORNES/THEVERYMANY and Texas By Air

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