World Below the Brine


City of Virginia Beach


Rudee Loop, Virginia Beach Oceanfront


20’w x 12’d x 16’h

Completion Date

December 2018


“World Below the Brine” is a new interactive placemaking art installation at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront’s Rudee Loop.

Work Program Architects, in partnership with Piece of Cake Productions and Rhiza A+D of Portland, Oregon, submitted the winning design for the installation based on a national call from the City of Virginia Beach Office of Cultural Affairs. The challenge was to create an exciting interactive piece to transform an empty lot into a vibrant new community meeting place. 

Designers drew inspiration from the vivid Walt Whitman poem of the same name, “World Below the Brine” to simulates the ever-changing landscape above and below the water’s surface. The interactive sculpture transforms itself with wind, sun and body movements. A tall framework anchored by concrete benches supports a grid of 200 wind paddles with sand-cast glass counterweights that undulate with the ocean breeze. Daytime visitors can walk below the piece and be covered in fluid diffused light and shadow. At night,  the sculpture is illuminated with LED lighting that responds to visitors’ movements, creating the illusion of a floating anemone.

Cast glass counterweights were fabricated by a team at the Chrysler Museum of Art’s Perry Glass StudioArt students from Princess Anne High School joined the project team at the 757 Makerspace Dream Factory to assemble the 200 wind paddles in preparation for the artwork’s debut.