Pulgas Water Temple Gateway

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A Proposed Gateway Public Art Installation for San Francisco Water Department. Located at Pulgas Water Temple ; San Francisco , CA. 2004
Size: 16’h x 54’’w x 1′-6’d , Materials : weathering steel , bronze and stainless – with galvanic isolators.

The Pulgas Water Temple marks a place where three major water sources converge to create the water supply for San Francisco. Our gate proposal celebrates this place both as a feat of engineering and as a spiritual recognition of the city’s relationship with its water.

The gate is comprised of layers of perforated metal sandwiched around structural steel tube frames. The profile of each layer is derived from topographic information made available by a digital mapping program. Via the program, we plotted the route of the Hetch Hetchy Aqueduct from the O’Shaughnessy Dam to the Crystal Springs Outfall. We then cut cross sections of the “pipe” using locations that were notably marked on a General Map and Profile of the Hetch Hetchy Water Supply (dated 1925). Each sectional profile was 5 miles in length and registered the aqueduct as its center.

Once the layers were assembled, the water supply would be the center of the gate. This central line is further emphasized by a series of concentric metal arcs. These arcs (suggesting both the interior of a pipe and ripples of water) culminate in an open circle that echoes the oculus of the water temple. The eight holes carved into the gate are derived from topographic maps of reservoirs that are part of the SF PUC Water, Power, and Wastewater System. These “maps” add detail to the story and further weave the gate into the Peninsula Watershed. The horizontal sheets of perforated steel in the upper portions of the gate are inspired by clouds and add stiffness to the tallest profiles. These cloud stiffeners are more transparent due to increased perforation.

The gate is designed to have a sculptural impact in both its’ open and closed positions. When open, the separate leafs of the gate combine with the existing concrete posts to become the sides of a carved portal. When closed, the gate offers porous layers of perforated metal that utilize the movement along the street to create lively moiré patterns. When closed, the gate offers the street a lower profile of copper with a matte, aqua patina. When closed the gate visually opens to a series of horizons connected by water and clouds.

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