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DENTON (UNT), Texas - The University of North Texas is now home to a new sculpture inviting visitors to connect with the environment and experience sustainability through art.
College of Visual Arts and Design Department of Studio Art alumna Kirsten Angerbauer was a senior sculptor student working in Professor Alicia Eggert’s advanced sculpture course when she started work on “gardenblock.” She was inspired to create a piece that would promote and facilitate interdisciplinary and creative sustainability on campus.
Angerbauer designed the sculpture to provide space where UNT students, faculty and staff can foster connections and relationships that will benefit the community. “gardenblock” is funded through the UNT “We Mean Green Fund” that subsidizes student projects promoting the environment and sustainability.
Angerbauer started the project by visiting the UNT community garden where she found inspiration in the intricate patterns of holes in squash leaves that were created by insects.
“I thought these lines and shapes were very interesting to look at and spoke to a process of growth and decay,” she said. “I wanted to highlight the beauty of these natural cycles, so I created a pattern using the traced linework of the squash plants.”
The “gardenblock” is comprised of an 8-foot Corten steel cube with cut-out patterns. The cube is not just an object, but an experience of ever-changing patterns of light. Over time, the Corten steel will naturally oxidize and produce colors of burnt orange, deep reds and ochre yellows that will echo the colors of the garden without the use of chemicals, toxic paints or aerosol applications. Corten steel exceeds LEED requirements, is 100 percent recyclable and is made from 73 percent recycled content.
In addition to the “gardenblock,” Angerbauer constructed nine moveable steel benches that resemble small versions of the main sculpture. The repositionable seating will encourage visitors to rest and relax in the space.
The project was constructed using a CNC plasma cutter in the CVAD sculpture area. Patterns were cut into the steel panels and asymmetrical doorways were cut to allow people to walk underneath and inside the sculpture. The panels are supported by a steel frame that rests on concrete footings.
“When I see this piece, it feels like a dream,” said Angerbauer. “It’s been so long in the making; to see it built, this giant steel cube and to see it as I envisioned, I am just ecstatic.”
Throughout the project Angerbauer worked with studio assistants and sculpture interns, Paolo Buccino and Zuyva Sevilla. Both were instrumental in the fabrication and installation process. Angerbauer graduated in May 2018 and unveiled the finished “gardenblock” on Dec. 6. In addition to funding provided by the “We Mean Green Fund,” the project was also awarded funding from the College of Visual Arts and Design Student Project Award Fund.