Ridge And Valley
Water Map for the H.O Smith Botanic Gardens at the Arboretum at Penn State, 2009. Sandblasted Pennsylvania bluestone and rainwater, 42' x 22'. Landscape Architect: MTR Landscape Architects; Stone Mason: Phil Hawk and Co.
We often walk on the land without any idea of the underpinnings of our world. This Water Map gives the students, faculty and staff a sense of how the geology of this area influences the watershed patterns. People can see how their landscape works: where the rain water flows and where the mountain ridges are, and they can get some idea of the locations and names of the streams where they live.
This artwork is comprised of a 924 sq. ft. map shaped like the Spring Creek watershed the surface of the map is made with Pennsylvania blue stone, punctuated by three boulder 'ridges' that rise from the terrace to create seating walls. On the surface of the terrace, the different geologic formations are called out by varying patterns blasted into the stone. The names of the waterways and the towns will be blasted into the bluestone and the names of the ridges will be blasted into the tops of the dressed boulders. All of the local streams, and waterways are depicted with runnels carved 1/4 inch deep into the stone.
When it is dry, this terrace is a scale map of the geology and watershed of this area. But when it rains, the runoff from the roof of the Overlook Pavillion drains onto the maps and flows along the carved waterways, creating a watershed in miniature. With this artwork, the Overlook Pavilion becomes the symbolic headwaters for the river of grass in the landscape plan.