tall grass   .   concept

daytime view of Tall Grass on the Playa


Tall Grass is a 65' tall spire whose structure strives to express the lines of force that hold it aloft. Thin bamboo poles work in compression and tension to offer a thin aerodynamic profile that allows the mighty Playa winds to slip through with little resistance. The tower's form mimics its grass structural members as it tapers to a narrow multi-leafed crown. The base of the spire spreads into a 41 ' diameter shade structure that employs articulated sections of Aluminet that can be re-oriented to soften the fierce energy of Grandfather Fire while accentuating the cooling nature of the desert breeze. Imagined as the center element in the 3 o'clock Plaza, the sculpture will serve as a temperate gathering space on the Playa's edge.






night view of Tall Grass on the Playa



By night, energies captured from the sun and wind are re-radiated through high-efficiency L.E.D.s creating a beacon that can be enjoyed from any location in Black Rock City and serve as a constant point of orientation for its citizens. The glowing beacon at the spire's pinnicale transforms the structure's flower-like daytime visage to one suggesting a "Green Man" with arms extended to the heavens.






Tall Grass is held aloft by a combination of tension, rigidity and low surface area. When the dust is flying thick and strong, the guy lines will hum like atonal harp strings, an aural expression of the forces at play. I think of this piece of sculpture/architecture as an expression of my collaboration with the forces of nature that are so present on the Playa and in Black Rock City: gravity and wind, a fierce high-altitude sun, the moisture sucking gypsum, and the contrast of a thousand bright lights sparkling in the vast desert darkness. Tall Grass is shaped in purpose and form by the requirements of the environment in which it must coexist.

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