check out the latest video : TIDE FIELD, art on the Schuylkill

When it rains, the map creates a watershed in miniature.

RIDGE & VALLEY

H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens, The Arboretum at Penn State, University Park, Pennsylvania

2009

Pennsylvania bluestone and rainwater

42 feet wide x 22 feet long

In collaboration with MTR Landscape Architects and stone mason Phil Hawk and Co.

 

We often walk on the land without any idea of the underpinnings of our world. This is a stone water map that gives students, faculty, and staff a sense of how the geology of this area influences watershed patterns. Specifically, people can see how their landscape works: where the mountain ridges are, where the rainwater flows, and the streams they live near. This artwork is 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,' which rise from the terrace to create seating. Different geologic formations are blasted into stone, as well as names of waterways, ridges, and towns. All of the local streams and waterways are depicted with runnels carved 1/4 inch deep into the stone.

Every stream and rivulet, as well as springs and reservoirs, are mapped in the stone. Visitors can find their backyard stream, and get a sense of where they are in the watershed.

The waterways fill with rainwater in the same pattern that the watershed itself carries the rain across the landscape.

Falling from the roof and passing through the runnels, the rain remakes the watershed in miniature.

Drawing each waterway to make the overall stone terrace.