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Coming Ashore

PUBLIC INSTALLATION IN RIVERSIDE PARK

2018
Steel, wood

90ft x 60ft x 13ft (28m x 18m x 4m)

A large-scale public commission for Riverside Park North and the Art Students League of New York's Model to Monument fellowship program with the goal to provide the people of Morningside Heights a place for shade, seating, and meditation. Install currently slated for May 2018.

 3D model quick rendering of placement on the site. Background image courtesy of Google Maps.

3D model quick rendering of placement on the site. Background image courtesy of Google Maps.

Description:

Framed by the backdrop of the Hudson river, Coming Ashore's vertical wave rises up to crest while outward expanding reverberations come out of the ground. The vertical elements provide a visual focal point while the ground elements form an amphitheater of sitting areas for taking in the vista.

For many people coming to Riverside Park North, their first view of Coming Ashore is from 70 feet above, looking down from the elevated Riverbank State Park. Coming Ashore was developed with this aerial view in mind. 

As the sun moves across the sky each day, the vertical component casts a shadow that traces the across the ground elements like a sun dial. The 4 ground elements mark the beginning of each season when the shadow aligns perfectly with its shape.

The focus was to provide something ideally suited to the setting - beautiful, meaningful, interactive, and fun.

 My early concept models based off of calculating the sun's position on the solstice and equinoxes.

My early concept models based off of calculating the sun's position on the solstice and equinoxes.

The ground elements are inspired by the outline of the shadow cast by the upright wave as it moves over the course of each day. However, over the course of each year, the length of the shadow also changes.

Bringing those two elements together on every solstice and equinox, the shadow will land exactly on the outline of one ground element when the hour and minute of the day (with daylight savings-time) matches the month and day of the year. For example, the Winter Solstice occurs on December 21st, or 12/21. So at 12:21pm on 12/21, the shadow will align perfectly with the Winter Solstice ground element.

The dates and times shift due to our 365 ¼ day solar years, so the dates are calculated from the average over the past 100 years:

These dates are also the cardinal points for the astrological zodiac, with the sun in zero degrees...

 

Idea Evolution:

 One of Jeff's early 'line gestures' that inspired me to focus on working in the horizontal plane through shadow. Sculpture: Jeff Sundheim, Photo: Damon Hamm.

One of Jeff's early 'line gestures' that inspired me to focus on working in the horizontal plane through shadow. Sculpture: Jeff Sundheim, Photo: Damon Hamm.

The New York Parks Department had decided that the theme this year was "Wave". Each artist then embarked on designing individual expressions and interpretations of what 'wave' means to them - waves of immigration, waving hello, cyclic nature, harnessing the wind, etc.

Halfway through the year the Art Students League Model to Monument program director Greg Wyatt decided to have the artists attempt to merge their 6 separate sculptures into 3 two-person team collaborations. Needless to say, not a trivial ask. In fact, 3 of the 7 artists were unable to meet the challenge and dropped out of the program - a first in M2M history.

My assigned design partner, Jeff Sundheim, had been exploring spiral line gestures, and seeing no way to merge my many previous iterations, my inspiration came from noticing the shadows that one of Jeff's sculptures cast onto the table.

Isolating the shadow effect really brought out some interesting forms. 

Note: All images, video, and 3D renderings shown are of my own creation and are my contribution to the collaboration, except where noted.

 

 An early exploration of the ground elements using a mobile phone flashlight to simulate the arc of the sun. Upright portion: Jeff Sundheim, Shadow rings, photo: Damon Hamm

An early exploration of the ground elements using a mobile phone flashlight to simulate the arc of the sun. Upright portion: Jeff Sundheim, Shadow rings, photo: Damon Hamm

Upright Wave

Knowing that any horizontal shadows would be dependent upon the final upright wave's form, I created the following 'wave' explorations as design inspirations for Jeff to add his spin.

 An early exploration of the upright portion. Sculpture, photo: Damon Hamm 

An early exploration of the upright portion. Sculpture, photo: Damon Hamm 

 The final upright design I created including the spiral motif that Jeff had been working with. Sculpture, photo: Damon Hamm

The final upright design I created including the spiral motif that Jeff had been working with. Sculpture, photo: Damon Hamm

 Scale model showing my version of the upright wave with early 'shadow 'bench' placement sketches to show the concept.

Scale model showing my version of the upright wave with early 'shadow 'bench' placement sketches to show the concept.

 Scale model showing another of version of the upright wave created in collaboration with Jeff Sundheim. 

Scale model showing another of version of the upright wave created in collaboration with Jeff Sundheim. 

 A later scale model with bench forms and the upright wave form evolved by Jeff. Benches: Damon Hamm, Upright wave, photo: Jef Sundheim.

A later scale model with bench forms and the upright wave form evolved by Jeff. Benches: Damon Hamm, Upright wave, photo: Jef Sundheim.

 

Sculptural Sun Dial Shadow Study #1
3D model simulations to inform the design of the seating area.

 

Sculptural Sun Dial Shadow Study #2
4 3D sun simulations using one specific time of day as the seasons vary. 
All 4 times were then overlaid just for visual effect.

 

At each of the specific dates and times of year shown, the shadow of the upright portion of the sculpture will align perfectly with each of the ground forms outlined in green.

Also viewable in video form: https://youtu.be/zuDZzz-8lr8

 My layout calculations for fabrication.

My layout calculations for fabrication.

 

Worried that the nearby 70 foot-tall Riverbank Park building would cast its own shadow over our sculpture on the lower Riverside Park, I created this simulation to determine where in the park the sculpture should go, or more importantly, cannot go.

 

 Shadow Benches in progress, from left to right: Winter Solstice, Summer Solstice, and Spring Equinox (completed). The teak looks better than expected and I can't wait to see the wood and Corten steel once weathered in a year or so.

Shadow Benches in progress, from left to right: Winter Solstice, Summer Solstice, and Spring Equinox (completed). The teak looks better than expected and I can't wait to see the wood and Corten steel once weathered in a year or so.