World Below the Brine

We’re very excited to announce that WPA, in association with Rhiza A+D and Piece of Cake Productions, has been selected by the City of Virginia Beach – Office of Cultural Affairs to design, fabricate, and install a piece of interactive temporary public art at Rudee Inlet Loop. Drawing inspiration from the vivid Walt Whitman poem of the same name, “World Below the Brine” will simulate the ever-changing shore, above and below the water’s surface by creating an canopy that both captures the wind and translates the sun into a “play of light through the water.” The piece consists of a tall steel framework anchored by four concrete benches and supporting a torqued stainless steel wire grid on which 200 painted metal paddles with cast glass counterweights will pivot in wave-like motion as breezes pass through. During the day, visitors will walk below the piece and be covered in moving diffused light and shadow. At night it will be illuminated with LED lighting that will respond to the movements of visitors, creating the visual of a floating anemone visible to passers-by from Atlantic Avenue and the nearby Rudee Inlet Bridge. “World Below the Brine” will debut this September and remain through the Spring of 2020. We are also excited to share that AP Art students from Virginia Beach City Public Schools will be lending a hand with fabrication and installation right at the beginning of their first semester, and that Lynch Mykins will be our structural engineering partner. Stay tuned here and on our Instagram @wpa_norfolk for updates on our progress.

NEON Community Open Space

The following is a list of features being contemplated, as shown in the renderings:

Paved pathways connecting the surrounding sidewalks and streets to the existing paved concrete pad to remain in place. 

Landscaping within the areas of soil on site: grass or stable groundcover, trees, and shaping of the land (rain gardens, swales, berms, etc.).

Planters: both stationary and mobile. The purpose of these are to extend the greenspace from the south edge deeper onto the site, and to help designate the boundaries of the various activity spaces.

Stage Platform:  this is shown with multiple tiers, serving multiple uses including: 1) A platform for performances; 2) amphitheater for watching activity within the Park; 3) a resilient element for play/recreation (can handle wear and tear from skateboarding and other high intensity activities).

Shade Structure: over the stage platform. This will make the platform usable rain or shine. There is a potential for the shade structure to incorporate rigging for lighting, projection screen, speakers, or other performance-related equipment.

Shipping Containers: the two 20’ containers currently at the PLOT can be re-used and modified for new purposes (vending, storage, etc.). A new 40’ container can be added to span above the 20’ containers to provide a surface for graphics and to make a shaded space below. The walls of the containers become surfaces for vertical gardens and graphics (like a neon ‘NEON’ sign!).

Benches: these would be made of solid concrete with reinforced edges for durability. They would accommodate a range of activities including seating, market stalls, and skateboarding.

Playground Area: to include play equipment on an appropriate play surface. The play equipment could be in the form of public art, similar to “Upper Blush”, the sculpture by Matthew Geller that was recently installed on site.

Basketball Area:  a resilient hoop, backboard, and pole, with striping painted on the ground. Depending on the location, a fence element might be necessary to help prevent balls from leaving the site and becoming a hazard.

Lighting: the light poles from PLOT I could be re-used and new lighting could be implemented as needed. It will be beneficial to have power at the Stage Platform and also at the Containers.

Painting and Scoring: the concrete surface presents a good opportunity painting or scoring to help emphasize the diagonal paths and/or the division of the site into activity areas. The scoring may help with drainage – to provide a path for water to migrate toward the landscaped areas. During the charrette it was discussed that some game surfaces would be nice on the paving: chess, hopscotch, bocce, etc.

Public Art: the west wall of the adjacent building is a perfect place for a large commissioned mural. Also, places within the park can be dedicated for additional sculptures. Artworks that promote participation, interaction, and play should be favored.

Miscellaneous Park Equipment:  Tables and chairs, play equipment, signage, water source for irrigation, etc.

 

Please stay tuned here and to the Downtown Norfolk Council’s website for news, upcoming milestones, and ways to get involved in the NEON District as it continues to evolve.

 

 

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