Written on April 23, 2021
Gordon Huether has been named as a finalist for the City of South San Francisco’s Caltrain Station Public Art project. As part of an improvement project for the station, this national public art call includes opportunities for art installations in two locations: a new pedestrian tunnel and a half acre plaza to be built at the intersection of Grand Ave. and Airport Blvd. Aiming to embody aspects of South San Francisco’s identity as it relates to heritage and culture, Gordon created site-specific concepts for each location.
Plaza Art Concept:
For the plaza art location, Gordon was inspired by the city’s ship-building era in the 1920s when the area was referred to as the “smokestack capital of the Peninsula.” Through his concentration on this idea, Gordon forged a design of abstracted smokestacks that reimagine the beautiful, elegant form of smokestacks into a contemporary sculpture installation of numerous silos. Illuminated with color-changing LED lights, Gordon’s concept, titled Smokestack City, will allow the public to walk among and around this colorful forest of silos, with the ability to control what color surrounds them through the use of a mobile app.
Pedestrian Tunnel Art Concept:
While further researching South San Francisco’s cultural history, Gordon was struck by the adaptability of the ever-changing city over many generations, beginning with the Ohlone People. As the original people of this area, the Ohlone are very much a part of the city’s heritage and culture, and were known for their craftsmanship of boats, shelters and baskets built of tule reeds. In his concept, Ohlone Basket Tunnel, Gordon highlights the beautiful textures and patterns found in woven Ohlone baskets by transcribing these patterns into wall-mounted medallions. Part of this concept includes collaboration with the local Native American population to create patters that will be used in these basket medallions. In total, Gordon’s concept proposes 40 medallions in the tunnel as well as the tunnel entrance, ranging in size from 16″ to 48″ in diameter and approximately 2″ thick.