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This stone map articulates the flow of the local watershed, giving Penn State University
students and the community a sense of how water flows in this area.

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 Phil Hawk, Stone Mason

With Overland Partners, Architects 

 

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 local watershed flows, and gives a way for people to find their watershed address.

All the rain that falls on the visitor center roof is sent through an architect-designed scupper that pours rainwater into the map.

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 map 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.

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.

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 Pavilion drains onto the map 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.

All of the local streams and waterways are depicted with runnels carved 1/4 inch deep into the stone. The map is angled so that the water flows in imitation of the watershed. During dry weather, visitors can pour water in the runnels and watch the flow through the map.

Different geologic formations are blasted into stone, as well as names of waterways, ridges, and towns.

An example of the stencils cut for sandblasting the stone.

Placing the “ridge” stones at the beginning of map installation.